Miami Dolphins: Why Let Go of Ricky Williams Then Sign Larry Johnson?

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIAugust 23, 2011

Photo taken in 2009, last effective in 2008
Photo taken in 2009, last effective in 2008

So the Dolphins let Ricky Williams sign with Baltimore a few weeks ago, then on Tuesday they signed Larry Johnson

Does that even make sense?

To this Dolphins F/C, it makes almost no sense.

The Dolphins biggest offensive strength the last few years, running back, is now their second biggest weakness (only the revolving door at offensive line is bigger).

Reggie will be great, but we all saw the five plays it took from the three and one-and-a-half yard line to punch it into the end zone. Yes, maybe one of those plays should've been a play action pass, but when you're not running the ball very well, they won't take it too seriously.

In the NFL one running back alone doesn't get it done, especially a running back like Bush, who is more known for shifty open field running and pass catching than he is running between the tackles. The Dolphins need that between-the-tackles guy to give Reggie some breathers during a drive, as well as, well, run between the tackles.

Enter Larry Johnson. At one time in Kansas City, he was one of the best running backs in the NFL. He was even the highest paid running back in the NFL. But like most running backs, especially those that live between the tackles, he hit a wall performance-wise.

However, many attributed that to his off-the-field problems. Since 2003 he's been arrested four times on domestic violence related charges. (Yes, that's exactly who you'd want in the same locker room as Brandon Marshall, who, by the way, has stated that Ricky Williams has been a huge help in him dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder and encouraged him to get help.) 

But it hasn't just been off-the-field transgressions. Johnson is 31 years old. Ricky Williams is 34, but a younger 34 than you'd expect.

Yet, last season Ricky still rushed for 673 yards in 159 attempts, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. 

Last season Larry Johnson, while playing for Washington for two yards on five attempts before being cut on September 21.

Yes, Larry Johnson practically missed an entire season, after a season where he was practically chased out of Kansas City and signed by the Bengals.

Ricky wanted to come back to Miami, and stated so in many tweets, however, he felt that the organization wasn't quite welcoming to him.

So why be welcoming to Larry Johnson? Why wait for desperation?

Why not just keep Ricky Williams, have Daniel Thomas, who's still pretty raw, be the No. 3 rusher and slowly take the reigns from Ricky?

Instead you give Thomas the No. 2 job, then watch in horror as he goes 0-for-2 in a goal line situation, then sign Larry Johnson.

This could've easily been prevented, and thankfully the odds are that if Larry doesn't produce in practice or in the next two preseason games, he won't be among the 53 taking the field September 12th against the Patriots

But Ricky would've, and would've been a much more reliable weapon on offense.

Now go back to 2004, who would've thought that we'd be saying that Ricky was the more reliable one than Larry Johnson in 2011?

When I wrote my article about how the Dolphins could potentially be a playoff team last week, one of the things I said was that the team didn't panic.

Well, signing Larry Johnson seems exactly like that, a panic move.

One they wouldn't have had to make had they just kept a good locker room leader and presence in the South Florida community on board.

Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist. Follow him on twitter @thomasgalicia. For more of his opinions on other subjects, visit