tampabay.com

Williams deserts pot, talks to Miami coach

By wire services
Published March 20, 2005


MIAMI - Ricky Williams said he stopped smoking marijuana more than a month ago and has stopped avoiding the calls of new Dolphins coach Nick Saban.

The running back also is expected to end his legal battle with the Dolphins over an $8.6-million judgment the team has against him for breach of contract.

But it remains unknown if Williams, who has lost about 30 pounds since retiring, plans to return.

According to the Miami Herald, Williams spoke with Saban last week after the coach had tried for more than a month to get in contact with him.

Saban has left the door open to Williams' return since taking over as coach in January, saying he is interested in Williams if the former player has "value" to the team.

During a meeting regarding his paternity suit in South Florida, Williams said he has quit using marijuana, calling it unhealthy for his "Astro-body." He is taking classes at a school for holistic medicine in Northern California and was in India last week. He did not return an e-mail.

Saban, who was traveling to scout for the draft, could not be reached for comment.

In July, Williams retired two weeks before Dolphins training camp. He said he was tired of playing football and living by the rules and values associated with the game.

Soon afterward, it was revealed Williams faced a four-game suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times.

He still might face a four-week suspension and a four-week fine of his salary if he comes back.

The Herald also reported Williams has been advised to drop the appeal of the $8.6-million judgment because the NFL players' association doesn't believe it will win in court. An arbitrator ruled for the Dolphins in October, and a federal judge upheld the judgment last month.

Williams could take his case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the final step before the Supreme Court.

Bucs lose defensive tackle

Chartric Darby, 29, signed a three-year, $3-million deal with the Seahawks.

The 6-foot, 270-pound defensive tackle, signed by the Bucs as a free agent out of South Carolina State in 2000, received an $800,000 bonus.

In 16 games last season, Darby had 56 tackles, 30 solo, and recovered a fumble. He rejoins former Bucs director of player personnel Tim Ruskell, named Seahawks president of football operations in February.