DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams lit a match to any and all bridges connecting him to the team during his weekly radio show on Monday.
In the process, Williams revealed to anyone paying attention just how much of a hypocrite and a fraud he really is, while at the same time inflicting some damage to Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's chances of remaining in his current position. Williams' one-hour rant with co-host Sid Rosenberg on 560-WQAM in Miami was longer than the combined amount of time he has spent answering questions from the rest of the South Florida media over the last three seasons, save for one or two writers.
What's more troubling is that the comments made by Williams were aired out not long after Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross reportedly met for three hours with Sparano and general manager Jeff Ireland to discuss their futures. Ross, speaking to Jeff Darlington of The Miami Herald at Monday night's Orange Bowl game played at the Dolphins' home stadium, Sun Life Stadium, characterized the meetings as "productive."
To begin with, Williams immediately called into question the work ethic and commitment of some of his teammates leading up to Sunday's 38-7 season-ending loss to the New England Patriots, and he questioned their honesty in characterizing their support for Sparano. When reminded that last week the theme coming out of the locker room was one of total support for the head coach and how much players wanted to do well at New England in order to help his cause, Williams was blunt.
"Usually when players are talking and saying the right things it means that they're full of s**t," Williams said. "That's one of the reasons why I don't really enjoy talking to the media."
Later on in the broadcast, Williams claimed that he knew this time he was making a clean break with the Dolphins as opposed to his first two times (retiring in 2004 on the eve of training camp and going to the CFL in 2006 after being suspended for the season by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy for a fourth time). How did he know? Because no one from the media contingent inside the locker room on Monday approached him to ask him about his future, even though he is the longest tenured Dolphin.
"I thought, 'This is awesome. It signifies that this is (the end). Part of me it bothered but part of me it didn't," he said. "There's still a part of you that feels that someone didn't want you so it's bittersweet. ... To me, I've been here for so long that in my mind the media should know that if they're going to come and ask me stupid questions, yeah, I'm going to give them a stupid answer. But if they approach me like a human being and we have a conversation it will be a very good conversation."
What Williams left out is the fact that not just anyone could approach him and draw out this type of "honesty," it had to be someone in his trusted circle who he knew would spin it the right way in order to make him look good. There were numerous occasions in which he was approached for seemingly innocent and "smart" questions and he ran away and turned a cold shoulder.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Brandon Marshall stepped to the podium in recent weeks and chose to drop a little honesty on the media regarding the direction of the offense and his rapport with quarterback Chad Henne. Williams took him to task, saying on one hand he likes Marshall as a teammate but he was not happy with the timing of his comments or the delivery, ending his criticism by saying, "If you have $50 million, you can do whatever you want."
Apparently, Williams embraced his approach, which was to wait until after anything constructive could come out of his comments. Instead of voicing his concern over what he saw as a lack of preparation and focus during the week leading up to the Patriots game, Williams said nothing about it until Monday. That is also when he chose to reveal what he thought of Sparano's coaching tactics, and to take a swipe at Henne by saying the difference between New England and Miami is that "they have a quarterback."
He also took another dig at anyone associated with the Dolphins by saying he was rooting for the New York Jets in the playoffs because he is a fan of LaDainian Tomlinson and he likes how "they run the ball." In 2002 and 2003, his two best seasons in the NFL, Williams was run into the ground by then-Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt, carrying the ball a combined 775 times (383 in 2002 for 1,853 yards and 392 in 2003 for 1,372 yards). Those two seasons were what he cited at the time for wanting to retire because he was worn down. Now he wasn't getting it enough?
Probably the cruelest jab Williams took at Sparano was when he indicated that in his mind things were better when Nick Saban was coaching the team in 2005.
"Tony goes through a lot of effort to show us the things it takes to win football games," Williams said. "Not turning the ball over, converting third downs, scoring 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.
"Coach Saban had a saying – he said, 'We're worried about mouse manure, when we have elephant s**t all over the place.' 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."
So in other words, Williams wants to do what he has done best throughout his career -- Run, Ricky, Run -- away from his problems.
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