Imperfect match: Ricky and the Raiders?

Updated: August 5, 2004, 10:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Don't be so quick to close the book on Ricky Williams' career ... maybe.

Williams, whose world retirement tour stopped in Oakland last weekend to visit twin sister Cassie, told SI.com that he likes Oakland so much he'd consider resuming his career there -- maybe as soon as 2005.

Ricky Williams
Williams

Williams told SI.com "the only way I would" consider a comeback is with the Raiders. "I love Cali," the San Diego native said.

Williams cited the Raiders' strong offensive line as a reason he likes the Raiders, according to SI.com. Also in Oakland is head coach Norv Turner, his former offensive coordinator with the Dolphins.

He also told the Web site his quirky personality would be welcomed by Raider Nation -- "crazy fans who would expect a weirdo," he said.

Of course there are obstacles if Williams does try to play for the Raiders next season -- starting in Miami. Williams' rights belong to the Dolphins for the next two seasons.

Williams officially filed retirement papers with the NFL Management Council, meaning he can't play this season if he decides to return to football.

Williams' use of marijuana played a role in his stunning retirement.

Williams told Dan Le Batard, a reporter for the Miami Herald and for ESPN The Magazine, that he learned he failed a third drug test and faced a suspension just days before making his decision to retire.

The star running back said the developments played a part in his sudden retirement, but that it wasn't the only issue involved in his decision. Williams insisted there were "a hundred reasons" for leaving the NFL.

"I didn't quit football because I failed a drug test," he said. "I failed a drug test because I was ready to quit football." Williams also told Le Batard that he had wanted to quit playing football even before testing positive a second time for marijuana use in May and getting fined $650,000.

Under league rules, if a player in its substance-abuse program files retirement papers, he cannot unretire for a year without penalty. If he unretires in less than a year, it's counted as a positive drug test in the NFL program -- which, in Williams' case, would be his fourth positive test and would result in an indefinite suspension.

If Williams unretires after a year, he still would be facing a four-game suspension. A third positive test brings with it a mandatory four-game suspension.

The former Heisman Trophy winner played three seasons for New Orleans and considered retirement while with the Saints, coach Jim Haslett said.

"In 2001, Ricky came in my office and told me he was going to retire and play baseball," Haslett said. "I don't know if we talked him out of it. We told him he wasn't a very good baseball player -- maybe that did it."

Williams didn't blossom until he was dealt to the Dolphins in 2002 for two first-round draft picks.

At times, Miami's biggest trade since 1970 looked like a steal. Williams led the NFL in 2002 with 1,853 yards rushing and broke nine team records. Last season he ran for 1,372 yards despite little offensive support.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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