Ricky Williams: The Years Between 1,000 Yard Seasons

Jason Clary@IamJClaryCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2010

CHARLOTTE - NOVEMBER 19: Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates with teammates after he scored on a 14 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 19, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One of my favorite sports catch-phrases is "Run Ricky Run!".  I remember when I was just getting into football yelling that as Ricky Williams would take one to the house.

Though the term lost its juice after Ricky's 2004 retirement, it quickly caught back on this season as he pummeled his way to a 5th year over 1,000 yards.

A lot has happened since Ricky's last 1,000 yard season.  He last accomplished the feat back in 2003.  Though the Dolphins name and logo stayed the same, the new team hardly has any identity from 2003.

There are 3 current Dolphins that were on the team in 2003.  These players are Ricky Williams, Jason Taylor, and Yeremiah Bell.

Ricky Williams rushed for 1,372 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2003, Yeremiah Bell was still a rookie, and Jason Taylor was in his prime wreaking havoc on the opposing quarterbacks.

Under coach Dave Wannstedt, Miami was always a team that performed well in warm months and underachieved in the latter part of the season.  Though the team would mostly disappoint late in the season, Ricky Williams always provided a highlight of some sort.

After his retirement in 2004, many fans were left to question the status of the franchise. 

Doubtful about his return, Miami fans waited patiently as Ricky faced his suspension and met with team officials.  Though Ricky officially returned to Miami in July of 2005, he didn't see significant playing time until 2008.

  • 2005: Ricky served his first suspension, paid back signing bonuses, and finished the season with Miami
  • 2006: In February of 2006 Ricky reportedly failed another drug test. He was suspended for a year based on this failed test.  The substance is still unknown, but it was believed that it was an herb Ricky used in his study of holistic medicine.
  • Ricky then signed with the Toronto Argonauts, playing an entire season with the Canadian Franchise.  In his one season in Toronto, Ricky rushed for 526 yards and two touchdowns.
  • 2007: With rumors of another failed drug test, NFL officials were skeptical about giving Ricky the option of reinstatement.  Ricky agreed to undergo a rigorous drug testing program that consisted of weekly random tests.
  • In October of 2007 Ricky was reinstated.  On November 26 Ricky saw his first action, but it was short lived as his shoulder was stepped on.  Ricky would then go on injured reserve with a torn pectoral.

Rehabilitated and in great shape, Ricky returned for the 2008 season.  He appeared in all 16 games, started three, and rushed for 659 yards on 160 carries.  His contributions helped lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 season in head coach Tony Sparano's first season.

With an apparent new fire for the game, Ricky extended his contract before the 2009 season began, which means at the end of the 2010 season Ricky's current contract will run out.

Although a tougher season for the Dolphins' team, Ricky continued to effectively pound the ball with will against opponents.  This 2009 season marks Ricky's fifth 1,000 yard season, and Ricky now holds the record for most years in-between 1,000 yard seasons.

With a rejuvenated career and mind, Ricky Williams has become a great team leader and leader in the community as well.  The Ricky Williams Foundation, formed by Ricky, is a non profit organization created to ensure the wealth of knowledge and fitness in the youth by holding camps and different tutorial services for children of all ages.

Napoleon Hill once said, "Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat."

Ricky Williams was down, but not out.  He made it through many life altering lessons.  He became not only a better football player, but a man as well.  In a world where second chances sometimes present themselves, may we all be as fortunate as Ricky Williams to take that chance running. Run Ricky, run.