Many people close to Williams and the Miami Dolphins, the team he was with when he first retired, felt that he chose marijuana over his teammates. Williams always insisted that wasn’t the case, it was just that his teammates never got him high.
He spent his first retirement studying the ancient Indian system of holistic medicine, Ayurveda, at the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley, California. (Every word in that last sentence is absolutely true.)
He had a change of heart that had absolutely nothing to do with the $8 million he was ordered to repay the Dolphins, and returned to the team a year later, but still faced a suspension by the league due to the failed drug tests. As a result, he spent the 2006 season playing in the Canadian Football League for the Toronto Argonauts, where he helped shape league policy after outgoing CFL Commissioner Tom Wright passed the “Ricky Williams Rule,” which would prohibit a player under suspension in the NFL from signing and playing with a CFL team. Plus, he was able to teach yoga during the week. Bonus!
He leaves the NFL after playing most of 11 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, the Dolpins and the Baltimore Ravens, amassing 10,009 rushing yards, 74 total touchdowns and allegedly five failed NFL drug tests.
To his great credit, a source close to Williams said, “Hey, he hasn’t failed a drug test in more than four years. Can’t he get some love for that? I mean, four years! Come on!”
Mike Lowe contributed to this article