The Great NFL Smokeout

Updated: August 6, 2004, 2:55 PM ET
By Ray Ratto | Special to ESPN.com

The weekly meeting of Hey-Stop-Doing-That Anonymous had just begun when, in a particularly cheap literary trick, Ricky Williams and Quincy Carter walked in and sat in the back.

Group leader: "Seems we have new folks here. What are your names?"

Ricky Williams
Just when it seemed that Ricky Williams figured out the rest of his life, he decided he might want to play for the Raiders. But then he started to think about cookies, and all bets were off.
Ricky: "You a journalist?"

Group leader: "Nope, just run the meetings is all. Confidentiality is guaranteed."

Ricky: "Well, I'm Ricky, he's Quincy, and we're here because the NFL said we had to be."

Group leader: "However you got here isn't as important as the fact that you are here. Ricky, tell us something about yourself."

Ricky: "OK. I used to play football, and I might play it again, but I don't like being told what to do with my body, plus I don't mind a little good-natured reefer now and again. Plus, I hated my job, especially in training camp."

Ted: "Hated YOUR JOB? I sold aluminum siding for 17 years. Hated YOUR job? Jesus!"

Group leader: "OK, Ted, we know. It'll be your turn in a moment. Go on, Ricky."

Ricky: "So I tested positive for smoke, and I said the hell with it. But now I'm thinking about coming back, so I have to do this. Are there cookies?"

Group leader: "After the meeting, my friend. Quincy, what's your story?"

Quincy: "None of your friggin' business, Health Cop."

Group leader: "Well, if you're not ready to be here ... "

Quincy Carter
A second violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy was cause enough for the Cowboys to take a pass on Quincy Carter.
Quincy: "OK, OK. I played football too, but then I got fired, and they put out the word that I was doing that Peruvian flake, which is absolutely not so."

Group leader: "Now Quincy, you have to confront your demons before ..."

Quincy: "Hey, I know what demons I have and what demons I don't. I said I don't do blow, and that's it!"

Group leader: "OK, but at some point you will have to confront your problem before you can move on with your life."

Quincy: "My problem is that I got fired from my team. You want to solve that, go ahead."

Dutch: "Listen, pal, I went through the same thing you did. Drove trucks cross-country for years, got hooked on the Amphetamine Krispies, and I've been on the bricks for months."

Quincy: "Great, but I'm talking about the Dallas Cowboys here, B.J. And The Bear. I had that gig. I HAD it, and now I don't. Plus, people are saying I flunked a coke test, and I swear that coke isn't an issue. I swear!"

Group leader: "Could it be something else then?"

Quincy: "I can't discuss the details of the NFL substance-abuse policy. The NFL can't discuss the details, and the teams can't discuss the details."

Dutch: "Yeah, I saw that one in the paper. Only this isn't the paper, dude. You can tell us."

Group leader: "Look, he'll talk about it in good time, fellows. Let's leave him be for the moment."

Ted: "No, let's talk about this substance-abuse policy thing. You mean nobody can talk about it, like it's some secret fraternity hazing deal?"

Ricky: "Nobody can talk about it, under penalty of seeing Vince Lombardi in your sleep."

Ted: "Man, that's some company you work for. Who's the boss, God?"

Ricky: "He thinks so."

Group leader: "Yes, Ricky? Go on."

Ricky: "Man, these guys are serious. They have everything but the black helicopters, and they have more power than Congress."

Dutch: "Or the Teamsters."

Ricky: "Yeah, or the Teamsters. These guys do not screw around. Once they get you, you're got."

Group leader: "And yet I hear you want to get back in."

Ricky: "I'd dig being with the Raiders. They're cool, as long as you can deliver the goods."

Quincy: "Me, too. I'd go for that."

Group leader: "Quincy?"

Quincy: "Absolutely. The Raiders? Sign me up, too."

Dutch: "Well, hell, then, put me on the Raiders, too. I can drive a truck for Al."

Ted: "Yeah, and Al looks like the kind of guy who could use his share of aluminum siding."

Group leader: "And maybe a drug counselor, too."

Ted: "Oh, from what I hear, every sport there is could always use one more of those."

Group leader: "OK, then. How about we adjourn until Ricky can get us in touch with the Raiders? And remember your steps, gentlemen."

Ricky: "Yeah, steps. All over it, dude."

Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to ESPN.com

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