Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:07 PM
FootballRicky Williams tests positive for marijuana again
By Harvey Fialkov
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May 11, 2007, 5:39 PM EDT
Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who was eligible to be reinstated to the NFL last month, tested positive for marijuana in April, according to a source.
Williams was suspended last year for violating the substance-abuse policy for the fourth time. Williams will not be able to apply for reinstatement until September, according to the Associated Press and ESPN.com.
However, by Williams not complying with the requirements for reinstatement during his suspension, it's unlikely that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would grant an application for reinstatement in September.
Neither the league nor the Dolphins would comment.
Williams, who turns 30 on May 21, was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder in 2001, and he has said that he has used marijuana to help overcome the disorder. However, last month Williams told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that yoga had replaced drugs in his life.
"I've been very, very blessed to have found yoga," he said in Grass Valley, Calif., where he teaches yoga at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm. "I've found what I was looking for, and so now there's no need to smoke anymore. I see that I can sit with my legs crossed and my eyes closed for 15 minutes, and I get the same feeling I would get from smoking a joint. ....
"Even if you smoke - you're stressed and then you smoke and relax for a couple of hours, but you have to do it over and over again. Now [with yoga] if I can maintain this and can have it with me all the time, then it's something that's real."
According to a different source, the league's treatment plan for Williams does not address his social anxiety disorder.
David Cornwell, Williams' attorney during his substance-abuse hearings with the league, blamed Williams' apparent relapse on the league and its clinicians for not effectively treating players on a case-to-case basis.
"Ricky's history with Dr. Jethro Toomer, his treating clinician under the NFL drug program, demonstrates that Commissioner Goodell must address the league's inability to treat effectively players who are subject to the NFL drug program."
Williams retired from football in 2004 when facing another failed test, but made a comeback in 2005, rushing for 743 yards and six touchdowns after missing the first four games because of a drug suspension.
Williams played for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League during his yearlong drug suspension in 2006. The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner rushed for 526 yards and two touchdowns on 109 carries, but missed eight weeks because of a broken forearm and injured Achilles' tendon.
If Williams is suspended for another NFL season he will not have the option of returning to the CFL because of a newly adopted code of conduct policy. The so-called 'Ricky rule' forbids any CFL team from signing a player who's under suspension from the NFL.
"I can also emphatically say there is no plan, even if Ricky became available in some strange way, to have Ricky Williams be part of the Toronto Argonauts for the 2007 season,'' Argonauts President Keith Pelley said Friday. "I've got no regrets about Ricky Williams at all. He was a model citizen here. The only regret is the fact that he didn't run for 2,000 yards and we didn't win a Grey Cup.''
During Williams' premature retirement in 2004, the Dolphins were awarded an $8.6 million judgment against Williams for breach of contract. Williams still owes the Dolphins the money, but the franchise has not moved to collect it. Williams is slated to earn the minimum $710,000 for seventh-year players this season.
On April 18, Williams' agent Leigh Steinberg said the running back had "been passing the tests steadily, and I don't expect any problem." Steinberg has yet to return phone calls.
"I know Ricky wants to play football," Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin told 790-TheTicket (WAXY-AM). "It's a sad situation and I'm praying for him."
Since he was hired in January, Dolphins coach Cam Cameron has refused to say whether Williams would be welcome on the team. General Manager Randy Mueller has also refused comment on the subject until Williams is reinstated.
The Dolphins picked Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker in the third round of last month's draft and have expressed confidence in his ability to back up starting running back Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins also assigned Booker to Williams' old locker.
The Canadian Press and staff Writers Sarah Talalay and Stacy Hicklin contributed to this report.
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