THE RICKY REALITY

Not surprisingly, many of the questions to Dolphins players following their first practice of training camp centered around the sudden retirement of Ricky Williams, and there definitely were some mixed reactions.

Center Seth McKinney clearly was a focal point after being quoted last weekend as saying that Williams was a quitter.

McKinney said he didn't want to address the issue anymore, but not before saying, "I was bothered by it, but I don't want to talk about it anymore. He's not part of our team anymore.

"I'm not worried about it. I'm really not. I was upset about it, but I'm not worried about it."

The thing about the Williams situation that bothered Zach Thomas the most was Williams was being quoted in The Miami Herald that several players, not just him, used masking agents to avoid positive results on drug tests. Thomas also wasn't happy Williams took some shots at the offense in his conversations with friend and Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard.

For Jason Taylor, the issue was Williams' third failed drug test not being revealed immediately.

Others in the Dolphins locker room, however, supported Williams' decision.

"There are no hard feelings," said tight end Randy McMichael. "I still love him to death. I wish him the best. I respect a man who in his heart just wants to leave the game."

But perhaps Thomas expressed the team's sentiments best when he pointed out that the Dolphins survived the departure of Dan Marino very well.

To refresh your memory, in their first season without Marino the Dolphins won the AFC East and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, which they haven't reached since.

So maybe there is life after Ricky Williams.

The Dolphins began it on Saturday and they're looking forward to the time when No. 34 is no longer a topic of conversation anymore.


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