Time to Turn the Page

The story that has refused to go away finally might be on its final pages. We're talking about Ricky Williams' tenure as a member of the Miami Dolphins, which all but officially ended with last week's news that he wouldn't be allowed to apply for reinstatement into the NFL until September. Of course, Williams remained a big topic of conversation on Friday when the Dolphins had an open OTA day.

It was the first time reporters had access to Dolphins players or Coach Cam Cameron since the news broke, so Williams was the hot topic, maybe even more so than Daunte Culpepper's situation.

Cameron made it clear where he stood on the matter when he was asked about Williams.

"My responsibility is to make sure, you, our fans, all the people that care about Miami Dolphins football are not set up for disappointment," Cameron said. "That's why we focus on the guys that we have.

"I will not allow our fans to be let down by people that are not on our roster -- not again,'' Cameron said. "It's my responsibility not to let that happen. We have the greatest fans in the game, and we've got men on our team that we're going to focus on.''

The belief even before last week's news was that the Dolphins would not welcome Williams back because they're looking for dependable players. It was hoped, however, that they could trade Williams -- to St. Louis or Green Bay -- for a draft pick.

That, however, will become difficult in light of the recent development.

For the Dolphins, it's time to move on and accept the fact that what they've gotten so far from Ricky is all they're going to get.

Look, there was a reason the Saints -- that includes current Dolphins GM Randy Mueller -- traded Williams to the Dolphins in the first place.

The guy is an unbelievably talented running back. In terms of pure ability, he's the best back the Dolphins have ever had, and that includes Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Delvin Williams. It might not even be close.

The Dolphins got to see that in 2002 when Williams led the NFL with a team-record 1,853 yards.

But Williams came with a reputation as being a different kind of guy, and that's proven true. He is a different kind of guy.

And, unfortunately, that included being a guy who ultimately can't be depended upon. So the Dolphins have looked elsewhere and continue to look elsewhere.

The Dolphins already have a solid starter at running back in Ronnie Brown. Even though he's not as talented as Williams -- you just can't teach instincts, and Williams has those like crazy -- Brown can get the job done.

The concern right now is the depth behind Brown, although the selection of Lorenzo Booker in the third round of the 2007 draft will help. The issue, though, is what happens if Brown gets injured because Booker doesn't have the size to be an every-down back.

The question has to be asked because Brown has missed time his first two seasons because of injuries and his running style will leave him vulnerable to taking more shots.

One possibility as a good fall-back option is Jesse Chatman, who was signed in the offseason. But that's only if he can keep his weight under control. Let us remind you that Chatman averaged 6.2 yards per carry while rushing for over 300 yards as LaDainian Tomlinson's backup in 2004.

But Chatman hasn't played in the NFL since, and it's been mostly because of weight problems.

If the Dolphins decide that Chatman isn't the answer, they might want to consider giving a call to either Corey Dillon, Stephen Davis or Chris Brown, three veterans who still are looking for a team.

From a pure football standpoint, none of them are anywhere near as good as Williams. But at least you know they'll be there.

That's been the problem with Williams the last few years. But that chapter is, barring unforeseen circumstances, over and done with.

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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.