Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Huizenga to let football staff decide on Williams
By Len Pasquarelli
MIAMI -- Owner Wayne Huizenga said Tuesday that he will not attempt to block the potential return of Ricky Williams to the Miami Dolphins in 2007, but emphasized the decision on the comeback by the erstwhile running back will rest with his football officials.
"Those guys will have to work that out," said Huizenga, referring to general manager Randy Mueller and first-year head coach Cam Cameron.
Neither of the Dolphins' two highest-ranking football officials have commented on the possibility of Williams returning to the franchise following a season-long suspension in 2006. That might be because Mueller and Cameron are preoccupied with other issues for the time being.
Mueller is involved in negotiations to extend his contract, but there are some issues to be resolved there. Cameron, who was hired last week, likely hasn't had very much time yet to examine the roster he inherited, and determine how, or if, Williams might fit.
"We'll have to let the football people figure out how they feel," Huizenga said.
In 2005, his last NFL season before being banished for a repeat violation of the league's substance abuse policy, Williams was productive in a backup role behind then-rookie tailback Ronnie Brown. He carried 168 times for 743 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games, and three starts, and was one of the league's most proficient No. 2 backs.
Playing for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts in 2006, Williams rushed for 526 yards and two touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 127 yards. His missed more than a month of the year because of a fractured left forearm and a toe injury.
Williams will turn 30 years old in May, but is said to have maintained his conditioning in the CFL, and has indicated he wants to return to the NFL this year. It is believed that, to this point, Williams has complied with the conditions of his suspension, and that he should be eligible to return.
In stints with New Orleans (1999-2001) and Miami (2002-2005), Williams has appeared in 82 games and rushed for 7,097 yards and 47 touchdowns on 1,757 attempts.
In a staffing move, Cameron has fired defensive line coach Dan Quinn, who is regarded around the league as one of the NFL's best young assistants at his position. One possible replacement is current Indianapolis Colts quality control assistant Diron Reynolds, who was on Cameron's staff at Indiana University in 2001.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.