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Williams Done After 2010?

Ricky Williams (#34)

For someone who has been through much, both on and off the football season, you have to admit that Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has resurrected his career. But hearing it from Ricky, it sounds like he wants to hang the cleats up after the 2010 season.

He seems to have a few productive years of football in him; at 32, he went over 1,000 rushing yards for the first time since 2003, setting an NFL record for time between 1,000-yard seasons. As the #1 rushing option with Ronnie Brown on the shelf, the Dolphins are in the playoff hunt – albeit by a slim margin.

So one must wonder as to whether Williams would want to extend his career for three or 4 more seasons. According to the below interview, courtesy of the Dolphins, that prospect seems unlikely. Below is the transcript:

(On how good he feels about what he’s been able to do this season at age 32)

“Well, I don’t really feel that good. The body’s kind of beat up at this point in the season, but I’ve been around long enough to know how to get my body ready for the game. It’s a grind and it’s difficult, but I have the experience to know how to do it the right way.”

(Thoughts on the last time he rushed for 1,000 yards, in 2003, seeming like a lifetime ago)

“Yeah, it seems like it was another lifetime ago. I’ve been through so much and I’ve done so much outside of football as well as in football, so it seems like a long time. I didn’t lose my work ethic, and this new regime that we got in here last year, they push us hard, and we have a good scheme and we have good offensive linemen, good quarterbacks, so it’s easier this time than I remember last time. It’s been fun this year.”

(On if he’s happier now playing football than he’s been in the past)

“I’m having more fun with it, yeah. I think as I’ve gotten older and I’ve been away from the game, I think I appreciate this opportunity more than I have in the past. We have a great bunch of guys over here, so it’s fun to come to work every day.”

(On if it was an epiphany or a gradual decision to come back to football)

“I realized that it’s a good job, it pays well and it puts me in a good position to do what I want to do after football. And so it was a logical choice.”

(On if he regrets not playing for that period of time)

“No, definitely not. To me, life is for living and not just making money or doing what people think you’re supposed to do, and I’ve been able to live my life to the fullest and I’ve been lucky enough to have this opportunity to come back and continue to play football.”

(On how much longer he sees himself playing)

“I’m going to play this year, I’m going to finish these last two games, and then I’m going to play next year. Then I’m going to retire.”

(If he’s sure about that)

“As of today, it’s for sure, yeah, but who knows what’s going to happen in the future. But that’s the plan.”

(On the importance of him leaving a better legacy behind because of his children)

“Yeah, it’s been fun this year because my kids are old enough to watch the games and to go to school and hear stuff that their friends have to say about me, and it’s all positive. As far as what happened in the past, I guess the kids that go to school with my kids aren’t old enough to remember and talk to them about it. So as far as my kids go, they only have good memories and good experiences related to their dad as a football player.”

(On how big a deal it would be to get to the Super Bowl before his career ends)

“Well, the talking to the media part, not at all. But playing in the game would be great. I think it’s what motivates a lot of us to play. It takes so much to get there, one of those things being luck. It’s a long road, and I think that’s what keeps us going. Right now as a football team trying to fight our way into the playoffs, that’s what’s fueling us, is to get a shot to play on a big stage like the Super Bowl.”

(On his teammates’ reactions when he returned to the Dolphins in 2007)

“I think the players that I played with, they were all sad to see me go and I think they all cared about me as a human being first, and I think a lot of them understood why I left and really, I didn’t experience any negativity from my teammates. They’ve been supportive to me through the whole process, and that made coming back that much easier.”

(On whether he was surprised when Bill Parcells gave him an extension before this season)

“It was nice. It was unexpected. He had told me he was going to give me some money, but I didn’t know – first, he came up to me and he said, ‘I want to talk about your contract,’ and I said, ‘What, you want to give me a pay cut?’ and he kind of laughed. He gave me a great extension. As a backup player, to make the kind of money I’m going to be making next year, I’m very fortunate.”

(Whether he should start next season given what he’s accomplished this season)

“No, definitely not. That’s Ronnie’s (Brown) job, and my role here is to keep Ronnie fresh, to spell Ronnie and do what I can to help the team.”

(Does it make him smile when people say he doesn’t look like a 32-year-old running back?)

“Well, I don’t feel 32. When I’m on the field, I still feel explosive, and in my mind, it’s the same way I remember when I was 22. The biggest difference is that I’ve learned over these years how to do a better job taking care of myself and making that a priority.”

(On how the the Wildcat has changed his role with the Dolphins)

“When Ronnie was here, it was just an opportunity for me to get on the field more. Now that Ronnie’s gone, we don’t run it as much, but when we do run it, it’s a lot of fun because it keeps the defenses kind of off-balance, and I think in the games where we can really get into the Wildcat more, the defenses can’t key on what we’re doing so much and it creates a little bit more space out there for us.”

(Was taking some time off was a big reason for his success this season?)

“That’s part of it. But I think part of it is just that we have a coaching staff and a front office that they know how to use backs that are older. So one of the things that (executive vice president-football operations) Bill (Parcells) talked to me about in the beginning was – I wasn’t expecting him to say we want you to carry the ball and do all these things, but he said you’re getting up there in age. This is your first time being a running back at 32, so he said, ‘Be smart.’ And the way that they used me has been very smart, and that’s what helped me to be fresh.”

(On how much the Dolphins talk about the playoffs)

“We have to. That’s what we’re here for, and I think as you go through a season and you look for motivation, I think the way our coach makes it for us is getting into the playoffs is our No. 1 motivation. I think some guys at this point in the season in our position, they talk about playing for pride. But that’s not us. We’re playing for the playoffs still. I think there have been stories of teams that weren’t sure they were going to get in and then they get in and they’re not mentally prepared for it, and I think our coach wants to guard against that.”

(On if he ever wonders what would have happened if he stuck with baseball)

“Not really. Sometimes, every once in a while, I will, but people ask me and I say playing baseball is much harder than being a football player. Having to get up every day and play for six months, that’s a grind and that’s tough.”

(On what he would like people to know about him this season)

“I’m hard on myself and I look at every game and I want to be more productive. But when I take a step back and I look at what I’ve been able to accomplish this year, and half the year I was a backup, I just think as far as touchdowns, as far as I’ve had the longest run of my career, average yards per carry, I’m putting up numbers that I never put up before. It’s a credit to the team here and our offensive line and taking care of yourself. Being 32 as a football player, as a running back, doesn’t mean anything unless you allow it to.”

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