Catching Up With Ricky

For all the talk about Jason Taylor and his situation, there's still always a fascination with Ricky Williams, who is preparing for what everyone hopes will be his first full season with the Dolphins since 2003. Williams spoke to reporters after Wednesday's OTA practice and, as always, he had plenty of interesting things to say.

Williams missed the first 11 games of the 2007 season while serving his latest NFL suspension and then was injured in his first game, sustaining a season-ending chest injury in the Monday night loss at Pittsburgh.

The running back is well aware there are many who are just waiting for his next misstep, but that's not the focus for him.

"I don't know, the most important thing is to quiet the doubts in my own mind and for the most part, I'm not worried, I know I'm going to be there for training camp," Williams said. "I know I'm going to make it through the season, and then after the season I'll look at my career and see which way I want to go."

Williams is about to enter the last year of his contract, and he said he's taking things year by year.

"I don't know what the future holds," Williams said. "Just kind of play it by ear. This is the last year of my contract, so definitely I have to think about it more when the season is over."

Williams says the chest injury is not an issue anymore, adding he felt good physically.

It has taken Williams little time to impress new head coach Tony Sparano.

Sparano said Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, a former Dolphins assistant, talked to him about Williams while the two were with the Cowboys.

"I knew the kind of teammate that Ricky would be here and I knew the kind of person that he was when I came in here, I had a pretty good idea," Sparano said. "And he's been everything that they told me he was. I think he's really been a hell of a guy in the locker room right now and he's been a real solid good out on this field. So I'm pleased.

"I like what Ricky has done. He finishes every run. I think that's important. Within his individual drills, I see the guy working hard to get better during these individual periods. I think the guy shows up each day and he has a purpose when he practices, wants to get better at something each and every day. When you sit down and you talk to him, he'll tell you those things. I like where he is right now. He's used this offseason real well; we're at the end of 10 weeks and thereabouts, 11 weeks of the offseason program, and he's been at every workout, which is going to be really good for him down the road and for us."

The feeling of respect appears to be mutual because Williams had some positive things to say about the new regime as well.

"It's different around here, that's for sure," Williams said. "We work the hardest I've worked — Coach Saban worked us pretty hard, but this new regime is making every single person on the field prove themselves, not just prove they can play football but prove they're going to lay it on the line.

"I like the fact that everyone is made accountable on a daily basis, and so when it comes to Sundays you won't be looking to your side and questioning whether that teammate is going to be there for you. The way we work and the way we're held accountable on it, we have no choice but to be good this year."

The Dolphins certainly could use the Williams of 2002-03 for that to happen.

Remember, this is a guy who led the league in rushing in 2002 with a franchise-record 1,852 yards.

It's doubtful that Williams will ever rush for that kind of total again. But he can be a major contributor on offense.

A big season also would help restore Williams' legacy, which has taken a hit in recent years. Not that it concerns him, though.

"I've sort of given up on that," he said. "I'm more worried about my legacy in the bigger picture, as far as setting myself up for post-football. Going back to school, getting a job, real job, raising my kids.

"It is what it is. I just don't worry too much about it. I just go out there and try to play football and let my legacy just take care of itself. Just make sure I don't do anything to make it any worse."


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