On Tuesday, Ravens running back Ricky Williams announced his retirement from the NFL. Williams, 34, had stated following the AFC Championship game that he was feeling good after the season and was looking forward to coming back to the Ravens in 2012. However, after a few weeks to think about it, the veteran seems to have had a change of heart.
Williams has said in the past that he plans on going to medical school once his football days are over, with the ultimate goal of becoming a psychiatrist.
Through his Alma mater, the University of Texas, Williams released the following statement:
“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life. I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly fun. I want to thank all my fans, teammates, coaches and supporters for the strength they’ve given me to overcome so much.”
Ricky ran for 444 yards on 108 carries for the Ravens this season as Ray Rice’s backup. His departure leaves the Ravens with a void to fill at backup running back, as the only RBs remaining on the roster other than Rice (assuming he is resigned this offseason) are 2011 seventh round draft pick Anthony Allen and undrafted Damien Berry, who will also be in his second season. It is highly doubtful that Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore front office will be comfortable entering the season with those two as the primary backups to Rice.
Williams, of course has “retired” from the NFL before, back in 2004 following a failed drug test. It’s entirely possible that the former Texas Longhorn, who marches to the beat of his own drummer, could change his mind again once the 2012 season approaches. In that case, the Ravens would likely be very open to letting Williams – who is still under contract for another year – rejoin the squad. In the meantime, though, they need to proceed as if #34 will not be back, and start looking for a more proven backup for Rice.
On a personal note, I’m sorry to see Ricky go. I’ve always been a fan of his, and grew to like him even more after watching the ESPN documentary “Run Ricky Run” a few years back. I was pumped when he joined the purple and black, and was in attendance when he scored his first Ravens touchdown against Houston in Week 6. However, football is far from the most important thing in Williams’ life, and I’m sure he’ll make good on the promise he made on his twitter account after news of his imminent retirement leaked:
“Thank you all, but this ain’t it, I’m gonna do something really special. ‘Be you and change the world,’
If this is it, I’m glad Williams finished his career in Charm City. If not, I’ll welcome him with open arms when he decides to return to again back up Rice.