Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Dolphins' Williams practices for first time since suspension
DAVIE, Fla. -- Ricky Williams participated in his first full
day of practice Wednesday, his status for Monday's game still
Dolphins coach Cam Cameron isn't saying whether the running back
will play at Pittsburgh.
Williams took part in agility exercises before he gathered with
the team to stretch at the Dolphins' training facility. Cameron and
a large group of reporters looked on as Williams and his teammates
went through drills.
"He definitely had a spring in his step today," rookie
quarterback John Beck said. "I don't think I was the only one that
noticed that. We're happy to have Ricky on our football team. This
is my first time being with him on the team, but I've heard from
players on this team, he's a very hard worker and he's going to
give us his all."
When asked whether Williams would get playing time Monday,
Cameron stuck by his wait-and-see approach.
"It's going to be day-to-day," Cameron said. "And I think
that's what's best for our team. I think that's what is best for
Williams participated in weightlifting and meetings with
teammates Monday, just days after the winless Dolphins welcomed him
back from a 1½-year suspension.
"It's kind of like minicamp. You bring guys in, they look
great," defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday said. "I didn't get a
chance to really watch him, but from what I hear -- the buzz -- he's
the same guy. He works hard. You know you're going to get that from
Ricky. There's never been a question about his work ethic. On the
field, the guy works hard. His problems have been off the field."
Williams has tested positive for marijuana at least four times
since Miami acquired him in 2002. He rushed for 3,225 yards in the
2002-03 seasons after being traded to the Dolphins. Williams
retired in 2004, but returned to the Dolphins in 2005, when he ran
for 743 yards alternating with Ronnie Brown.
Williams said his conditioning level and ability to absorb
Miami's playbook would likely determine how quickly he'll play.
"We're just taking it one day at a time," Williams said. It
was a phrase he repeated on multiple occasions.
He said he felt comfortable on the field, describing his return
as "pretty natural."
"I haven't played football in a year, and then to get on the
field and feel it all come back so quickly was a little
surprising," Williams said.
A cadre of reporters with television cameras, microphones and
recorders crowded around Williams' locker Wednesday; many ignored
Beck, who was talking with reporters at the same time.
"We kind of forget that he's here," defensive end Jason Taylor
told reporters. "He's one of the guys, you just forget. Obviously,
we all know he's here now, because half you people weren't here
this whole year. So we see all the cameras and all the attention,
so we know something's going on."
A torn knee ligament cut short Brown's promising season, but
Jesse Chatman has picked up the slack, averaging 91.6 yards rushing
per game. Chatman (ankle) was limited for Wednesday's practice and
Cameron said Williams and other backs shared repetitions.
"It's nice to get in there and feel like you're a part of the
team," Williams said. "If Jesse would have been out there, I
would have been limited. It would have been a little more difficult
to get into it."