Decision not to re-enter league signals end

Updated: December 2, 2004, 12:45 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Ricky Williams' career as a football player may be over after he decided not to accept a proposal to re-enter the NFL and serve a four-game suspension for violations of the drug policy, according to his attorney, David Cornwell.

Williams is currently on the league's reserve retired list and needed to make a decision by Thursday to try to be reinstated into the league. The league requires players on the retired list to be reinstated 30 days before the end of the season.

Williams met with Cornwell Wednesday night and Cornwell couldn't talk him into seeking reinstatement. More than a week ago, Cornwell worked out a proposal that would have allowed Williams to return this week and be suspended for the final four games of the season.

"Ricky is going to stay on the retired list and I have to conclude that his career is over," Cornwell said.

Williams still owes the Dolphins $8 million for not fulfilling his contract with the team. At the moment, he is studying holistic medicine at a college near Sacramento, Calif.

The former halfback seems to be happy with his new life. He has met several reporters in recent weeks and has shown little interest in returning to football. A few months ago, he told his agent, Leigh Steinberg, he wanted to play, which started the process for negotiations with the league over his return.

Cornwell flew to New York a couple of times and worked out a solution. Williams had a one-year suspension hanging over his career for retiring while in the drug program and another four-game suspension for a positive test in December 2003.

Through negotiations, Cornwell and the league worked out a plan that favored time served. Williams would only have to serve the final four weeks as a suspension and then be available for possible trades to other teams in the offseason.

"David Cornwell informed our office that Ricky Williams has declined to accept the terms of his reinstatement," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press.

Williams, 27, played 70 games for the Saints and Dolphins and rushed for 6,354 yards in five seasons. He was the fifth pick in the 1999 draft and a former Heisman Trophy winner.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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