Ricky Set to Earn, Expire in 2010 - NBC Chicago

Ricky Set to Earn, Expire in 2010

This is the way you do it, Favre. This is the way you retire.



    Ricky Set to Earn, Expire in 2010
    Getty Images
    Ricky Williams has quietly planned his future. We've come a long way, baby.

    Ricky Williams revealed Monday that the Dolphins have signed him to a one-year contract extension that will see him through the 2010 season -- at which point he plans to morph into "Errick" full-time and rub his way right out of football.

    The contract, which Williams negotiated sans agent with Bill Parcells, bumps the backup RB from $3.4 to $4.35 million. It's not clear how much of that is guaranteed money, though it does seem to put to rest rumors the Fins would shop him around to allow Lex Hilliard a larger role.

    Williams, who'd already represented himself in negotiations for the current season's contract, said the process was no big deal.

    "I talked to Bill about it, and we came to an agreement,'' Williams told the Miami Herald. "It was quiet and easy.''

    And isn't that the darndest thing about it? Williams has always been quiet -- painfully, cripplingly, social-anxiety shy, in fact -- but his relationship with the NFL was long uneasy.

    It began with Mike Ditka giving up the Saints' entire draft to acquire him out of Texas in 1999, a spectacularly bad decision that cost the jobs of all involved within just two years. It became notorious with an inexperienced agent backed by a local rapper, brightened with a trade to Miami and an MVP-making trip to the Pro Bowl, and then became mired in multiple drug test failures for marijuana, retirements, returns, injuries, fan-befuddling jaunts to the East, and general hubbub at every turn.  

    Finally, in 2008, it all seemed to come together for Williams. He was effective in the Dolphins' offense as a complement to Ronnie Brown, running for 659 yards, snagging 29 passes for another 219, and scoring 5 touchdowns. His coaches praised his effort and presence. He no longer turned to pot for help with his depression or anxiety, and he began training as a massage therapist and taking classes at Nova Southeastern so that when football ended, he could pursue a career helping others as an osteopath.

    Things had ceased to be uneasy.

    And now it's that same Ricky Williams who is, at 32, the very admirable opposite to the nightmare that is Brett Favre: he realized, as he says, "there are other ways to define yourself" than football, made a plan, picked a date, and will enjoy every minute until then.

    And for that, Errick, as much as it is your 2nd-place franchise records for career rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns, we already miss you.

    Janie Campbell believes in ball park hot dogs and not retiring 713 times, thereby driving America crazy. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.