No Ricky in 2006

The Dolphins were dealt a blow Tuesday when the NFL suspended Ricky Williams for the 2006 season, turning down his appeal of his latest failed drug test. "This is a league decision, and we are disappointed in what it means for Ricky and the team," Coach Nick Saban said in a statement released by the team.

Williams also released a statement through the Dolphins expressing his disappointment.

"I'm disappointed with the decision but I respect it," Williams said. "I'm proud of my association with the National Football League and look forward to returning to the Dolphins in 2007."

The suspension came 15 days after Williams met with NFL counsel Jeff Pash in an attempt to have the league overturn the test, Williams' fourth failed drug test.

While marijuana was the cause of the previous failed tests, it's unknown was substance was involved in this one.

The whole episode came to light in February when a Denver television station broke the story while Williams was in India.

From that point on, Saban remained supportive, calling Williams one of the five best guys he had ever coached.

"Ricky did an outstanding job for the Dolphins, not only as a player but also what he added as a person to the team's chemistry and to our overall success," Saban said in his Tuesday statement. "I know I speak for all of his teammates and the entire Dolphins organization in supporting him in any way we can in his future endeavors."

Williams was a big part of the Dolphins offense last season after sitting out the first four games because of another league suspension, rushing for 743 yards and with a 4.4-yard average while sharing playing time with rookie Ronnie Brown.

Williams still owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract when he retired before the start of training camp in July 2004.

As far as Williams is concerned, the only remaining question is whether he'll suit up again in 2007. After all, he'll be 30 years old by that time and will have played only 12 games in three years.

But that's down the road. The immediate news was bad, for both Williams and the Dolphins.

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