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Ricky Williams cross free agency bridge, then burns it

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."

Ziiiing.

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.

Nope.

“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.

Cough-hypocrite-cough.

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.

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Reason #4,567 why we need to get rid of Brandon Marshall.

How can Miami's management keep "cleaning house" when they don't have the adequate personnel to replace them with?

A free agent RB from Groundhog State, perhaps?

I support Ricky 100% on this one. He said nothing but the truth and did not want to harm anyone. He was speaking his mind and now that the season is over and his carrer as well he did not see any problems doing that. I like him now more than I did before

I strongly disagree with Armando's point that Ricky should have voiced his opinions during the season, and that by doing so now he is acting like a two-faced, self-absorbed sellout. During the season, the team is what it is. If the QB sucks, or the coach is ineffective, the middle of the season is not the time to complain about it because those things can't be fixed. The best thing a player can do is keep remain quiet about those fixed aspects of the team, support his teammates, even the struggling ones, and play hard. Ricky does that, I think, better than almost anybody.

Now, when the season is over - when those problems with the team can be fixed - is the exact time for a player to voice his discontent. Ricky is a thoughtful and intelligent player, and if he has something to say about the team, I, as a fan, want to hear it.

I think if anyone has been inappropriately hiding ill-feelings toward anyone, it's you, Armando. I think you have strongly disliked Ricky ever since he retired for the first time, and you have been waiting to publicly condemn him. As a sports columnist, it is your job to call out players you deem destructive. Instead you waited for his time with the Dolphins to end before you voiced your opinions. This was a poorly written article.

I didn't mean to fight a polemic article with similar language, but I'm not a very good writer. I really believe, though, the Ricky has been one of the hardest working Dolphins while he was there, and I don't believe he deserves this kind of treatment.

I am generally a fan of your writing but I think this article is ridiculous. You're criticizing him for not making the criticisms public during the season? That's just the press' delusional wet dream, not an issue with Ricky's integrity. They are out of it, he's a free agent and gave a balanced view of what's really going on. You should be praising him.

I don't know how everyone is missing Ricky's motives here. He is doing this to try and help his VERY GOOD FRIEND RONNIE BROWN stay in Miami and play where he wants to play.

Ricky knows he is on the end of this career. He has also been in Miami for quite a while and I think at this point he would like a change of scenery and some brighter minds on the offensive front.

So why would he do this now? Seems so weak and childish to criticize Sparano and the team now. The reason? He wants to make Miami's decision for them. If it came to keeping one of the backs, he wants them to keep Ronnie. He knows it would be cheaper to keep himself and maybe even in their interest as his plowing style might better complement the speed they will acquire this offseason. But he is looking out for his friend. By taking himself out of the equation it nearly guarantees miami has to make a play for Brown. With the needs at QB and offensive line they cant let 2 good RBS go. They need to keep one and draft/sign one.

He is helping his best friend try and stay in Miami. Brown has made it clear he wants to be here. And unless I'm wrong, which I might be, Williams is being pretty selfless in burning a bridge in South Florida where he was very respected.

All part of the business.

Thanks for the effort and the years Rick, you gave us your best.

test.

Geez Armando, looks like there is overwhelming support of your article from the fans. Wouldn't have to do with the fact that:

A)You're wrong
B)Ricky is right and will be missed by most of us
C)This may the dumbest thing you've written yet

My only hope is that Ross sees this as clearly as 95% of the fan base. Again, we ask you... do the right thing Mr. Ross. Everyone else can see it...so can you.

I love Ricky. Run Ricky Run...even at the mouth. Hey the truth hurts sometimes. Look at our record there is a lot of blame to go around. The HC has to get the most, he is the leader. As for Brandon Marshall, did he earn his big contract...HELL NO, he played like crap. Ricky earns his money !!!

If you want to talk about hypocrites how about the NFL who made Ricky lose his prime running years because he smoked a little bud(who on this blog never did?), while the standard on the offensive lines in the NFL is about 350lbs which can only be accomplished with steroids and HGH. Any one who denies this just does not understand science.

Ricky Williams is and will remain on my list of favorite Dolphin players. Run Ricky Run forever !!!

Armando,
You are a plain dumb writer. Ricky did not criticize his coach or the team during the season because he didn’t want to stir up a locker-room controversy. In the NFL or the NCAA, the head coach is always the king in the kingdom. Brandon Marshall was nothing but a very expensive Davone Bess. I have no doubt about his talent but lack of efforts. The coaching staff of the Phins have lots of problem and I hope more of them will be surfaced when more players leaves the team, then maybe Sparano will be conscious (if he is still the HC), to make a significant change

I strongly disagree with Armando's point that Ricky should have voiced his opinions during the season, and that by doing so now he is acting like a two-faced, self-absorbed sellout. During the season, the team is what it is. If the QB sucks, or the coach is ineffective, the middle of the season is not the time to complain about it because those things can't be fixed. The best thing a player can do is keep remain quiet about those fixed aspects of the team, support his teammates, even the struggling ones, and play hard. Ricky does that, I think, better than almost anybody.

Now, when the season is over - when those problems with the team can be fixed - is the exact time for a player to voice his discontent. Ricky is a thoughtful and intelligent player, and if he has something to say about the team, I, as a fan, want to hear it.

I think if anyone has been inappropriately hiding ill-feelings toward anyone, it's you, Armando. I think you have strongly disliked Ricky ever since he retired for the first time, and you have been waiting to publicly condemn him. As a sports columnist, it is your job to call out players you deem destructive. Instead you waited for his time with the Dolphins to end before you voiced your opinions. This was a poorly written article.

I didn't mean to fight a polemic article with similar language, but I'm not a very good writer. I really believe, though, the Ricky has been one of the hardest working Dolphins while he was there, and I don't believe he deserves this kind of treatment.

Maybe somebody should drug test Ricky Williams - he might be on weed again. They say it costs you brain cells - or maybe it makes you two faced. Go away Ricky - Run Ricky Run - far away.

You might hate what he said but just like always, THE TRUTH HURTS. Coach can't coach, QB is lost in outer space and hey the JETS do run the ball better.

Honestly, everything Ricky says is legit. You can spin it all you want, but the man speaks the truth.

Armando,
I remeber one of your colun=mns quoting JT who said Ricky was a hard worker and teammate who got it done on gameday. This was when either Saban, or Camoron were in charge.

I hope Ricky goes to the Pats and wins a SB. Our sticking franchise has become an embarrassment...boy I miss the Shula/Marino days.

Armando, you are taking some creative licence here. Ricky hears the different drummer - we have known this for years - but to paint him as selfish and cowardly from those quotes is senstionalism - not your usual responsible journalism. And to be critical of his play is to ignore the other 10 players who play with him. Not to mention coaching. Solidify the O-line, take the chains off Henne and then we know what we have. Until then were flying blind. The biggest disappointment with this season was that we never found out what we needed to do to get better.

Go Ricky!
At least he is not a yes man!
This is the time to say these things as something needs to change!

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