On Monday afternoon I had an interesting chat with Ricky Williams about his bye weekend, his current view of his career, and his maturation process as a man and player.
During that interview I asked Williams about Marijuana and he spoke openly about it. I asked him if he was tempted to smoke again, and interestingly enough, he admitted he was tempted during the bye weekend. I wrote a story about it in The Herald.
But there were other parts of the interview that were not included in the story for space reasons or because, mostly, they had less to do with the theme of the story. So I include them here:
How do you overcome addiction to Marijuana?
"I think you can get addicted to anything. I think overcoming it, you need help definitely. You need a support system and you need some way to remind yourself, one, why not to do it. And two, you have to remind yourself of the positive things that will come if you refrain from doing it."
"It's hard for me to say I was addicted to Marijuana. I'm not convinced I had a Marijuana problem. I smoked occasionally and I had bad timing. I was in a program where there was zero tolerance. And so for me it was a matter of if I was 100 percent sure I wanted to be a football player, it wouldn't have been an issue for me to [not] smoke. But I think a lot of times I had serious doubts [football] is what I wanted to do. So I wasn't motivated not to smoke."
So what changed?
"I think the problem is when you get to a certain point in your career, you see the end of football. And that's when the doubts become stronger. But I've already seen past the end of football and I'm looking forward to getting to life after football. But I also realize the longer I can play and the more productive I can be over time, it makes life after football easier. So I'm motivated to stay here as long as I can."
How much does money have to do with that?
"It has a big part to do with it. It's something I was never comfortable saying, that I played for money. But I'm at a point now where if I wasn't making money, there's no doubt I wouldn't be here."
You sound so much more mature about life than you used to years ago.
"One of the biggest things is over the past couple of years, I've started to embrace and appreciate family life. So now I understand the decision I make don't just affect me. They affect my kids, they affect my wife, they affect everything. Being around them all the time makes it easier. Before them, I was more about myself and I didn't think too much about how much my decisions affected other people. That comes from maturity."