Ricky Williams is a lot of things. He's a solid, old running back. He's not very well rooted. He's an articulate man. He's a classic me-guy. And he's a hypocrite.
He's also pretty much done with the Miami Dolphins and I believe the feeling is mutual. And so with his Miami career pretty much over, a bridge Williams knew he would cross eventually, the running back went about burning that bridge on Monday Joey Porter style.
In his weekly radio radio show on WQAM, Ricky criticized coach Tony Sparano, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and took a subtle swipe at QB Chad Henne. He said, among other things, he is a closet New York Jets fan.
The comments you'll hear that seem most damning is that Ricky criticized coach Tony Sparano, saying among other things that the coach had lost his locker room toward the end of the season and the attention span of the players throughout the year.
“Tony goes through a lot of effort to show us the things it takes to win football games,” Ricky said. “Not turning the ball over, converting third downs, scoring touchdowns in the red zone. He spends a lot of time saying, ‘If you do these things, you win.’ And sometimes I feel personally that he does a little bit too much. My personal opinion is if you have the right attitude that you guys are going to win, then all that other stuff takes care of itself."
Interesting that Ricky didn't mention that during the season at any point. He refused to speak with the local media unless they paid him, which local radio station WQAM did in giving him a show. And even during those paid weekly appearances, Ricky never before complained about the coach asking the team to convert on third downs and score TDs in the red zone.
It wasn't until Ricky was clear of the season and felt he had cover that he made his point about Sparano's approach. Interesting. Maybe it might have been more productive had he brought the issue up with one of the captains to take to the coach. Maybe, as the longest tenured Dolphin, he might have brought the issue up to Sparano himself in private.
“Coach [Nick] Saban had a saying, ‘We’re worried about mouse manure, when we have elephant [crap] all over the place,’” Williams added. “I want to really start focusing on what I want to accomplish and what it is I want to achieve, but not micromanaging this or that and focusing on the little things. It’s keeping my eye on the prize and putting myself in a supporting environment and going to work every day with a smile on my face.”
That quote in a nutshell is Ricky: I, I, I, my, myself, my.
I guess it could have been more accurate if Ricky had included a couple of "me" references.
Ricky is very self-aware. And that self awareness guided him to reach this conclusion last week as Miami was preparing for the season finale:
“I had," Williams said, "a little bit of a sense during the week of practice that we weren’t maybe as focused or preparing as well as we needed to.”
Did he tell anyone? Nope.
He surely didn't tell anyone that could have changed the course of the preparation, that's for sure.
Ricky, by the way, is not a big fan of some of his teammates that he shares a huddle with, we now discover. Marshall, Miami's leading receiver and perhaps the most vocal and open critic of what was happening during the season, is Ricky's prime target.
“Being around Brandon a lot – I like the guy, I think the world of him – but as a teammate, sometimes he makes it difficult to like him and support him,” Ricky said. “It’s not necessarily what he says, it’s when he says it and the way he says it. But for the most part the things that he says are things that everyone else wants to say, but no one has the courage, or the balls. And some of it is intelligence – they’re smart enough not to say those things, because they don’t want to burn bridges. But when you have $50 million, then you can get away with whatever you want.”
Let me get this straight, so Marshall is speaking truth. And Marshall is saying these things while there is still time to correct course. But that makes him difficult to support?
And the guys not saying anything are doing so because they're more intelligent than Marshall?
Oh, and by the way, having courage is a bad thing?
Ricky said the biggest difference between the Patriots and the Dolphins is, "they have a quarterback," and with that he threw Henne under the bus. Nothing wrong with that, but throughout the season on the very same show, Ricky often talked about how much he supported Henne and how much he was progressing.
Now the season is over and so it's OK to do an about-face and pile on the guy when he's down and everyone knows he's going to be replaced?
The best part of the interview to me was when Williams spoke in glowing terms about Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas and the New York Jets.
Taylor and Thomas both hated Ricky when he quit on the team in 2004, weeks before the season was to begin. Ricky, you'll recall, said he wanted a break from football to go discover himself. Then he changed that story when it was learned he had failed his, like, fourth drug test and was en route to a suspension anyway.
Taylor's disgust with Ricky was most obvious when he showed up at the annual team Halloween party in a Ricky costume, complete with dreadlocks. Well, this year, Ricky showed up to the Halloween party in a JT costume, including a giant JT shaven head.
Taylor had little taste for Ricky and Ricky knew it. And Ricky took his revenge in his typical passive aggressive style.
But now Ricky is a huge JT fan: "... When I got here, playing with guys like Jason and Zach, it was awesome. Just their professionalism, and the way they played the game, it was incredible.”
Ricky also thinks LaDainian Tomlinson is incredible. In fact he thinks what LT and the Jets are doing if pretty cool.
“I like watching the Jets play,” he said. “Because of LT. I’m an LT fan. And I like the fact that the Jets run the ball.”
Dolphins fans might have liked Ricky to run the ball against the Jets. He 62 yards on 17 carries in two games against New York this season -- a 3.6 yard per carry average.
Ricky is a free agent in 2011. I think he realizes that. Otherwise you would not have heard him say any of this stuff.