Ricky Williams Retires: Star Running Back Makes Perfect Call in Hanging It Up

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterFebruary 9, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins walks down the tunnel for their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ricky Williams will finally get to dive into the myriad of aspirations he held for so long while playing football. He gave us all what we asked of him, and it's time he finally move on. 

The star running back has decided to hang up the cleats and retire. There will be a great discussion of whether he should get a Hall of Fame nod, and most will say that he falls just a hair short. 

A couple more years of football may have seen him waltz into Canton, but that was never the plan for Williams. Amazing talent demanded that he saw out his options in football, but it's time that he move on to what really moves him in life. 

The heart wants what the heart wants, and Williams never truly loved this game. 

There is no shame in Williams not having a zeal for the game that others do. It would be more of a crime if he stuck around despite being pulled the other way. 

Williams spoke with Sid Rosenberg on WQAM in Miami recently. He conveyed a text message that came from Bill Parcells that changed his entire thinking about playing next season. Via the LA Times

I was really excited to express to him how excited I was about football and about the way the season ended and how much I was looking forward to coming back...He said, well, that's good to hear, he said, you know, don't chase this thing too long. You can contribute in other ways.

I allowed myself to think if I could be doing anything in the world, what would I be doing? And what came to mind is I'd be travelling a little bit, I'd be going to classes and I'd be going back to school.

Williams is a free spirit that has long been confined by world-class athleticism. From the laid-back scene in San Diego, he left to play college in Texas, where football is more of a religion than a sport. 

There is no question that Williams was pushed to excel in football rather than following an undying passion. The man was good at it, and it was a path to an amazing living. 

We were all privy to a player that just wanted to pursue things outside the game, but it was no less a shock when he retired in 2004. Williams may have come back to prove once and for all that he could still play and kill any last spark the game had for him. 

Williams continues. 

So I weighed what is it going to feel like to be on a football field next year and what is it going to feel like doing the things I want to do, and it just felt lighter, more expansive to be doing the things I want to do.

Bill Parcells did Williams a favor by reminding him what it's important in life. You have to do what makes you happy, and for Williams, that is not necessarily football. 

Life is too short to follow other people's dreams.