Players would expect apology

Updated: August 27, 2004, 6:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Ricky Williams is tenting in Australia, apparently contemplating the ramifications of the dunning letter he received from the Dolphins and the NFL drug policy, all the while expanding the list of reasons he didn't want to be in Florida.

The major newspapers in South Florida all had stories Friday indicating that Williams' recent phone calls to the Dolphins included an offer to return for an increase in pay but that he was rebuffed.

Furthermore, besides leaving because he felt he was underpaid and overworked, among other things, he did not want to play under new offensive coordinator Chris Foerster. He wanted the Dolphins to promote quarterback coach Marc Trestman, who he felt would have installed a more diversified, less taxing offense.

Of Williams' complaint about workload, center Seth McKinney told the Palm Beach Post, "If we run the ball 100 times, we're out there blocking 100 times. That's just how it is. We're overused."

McKinney is not the only player who would not welcome Williams with open arms.

"The players in this locker room just looked at it and laughed," cornerback Patrick Surtain told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It has become a sideshow. I see no way in hell that he comes back, especially the way he put people off when he left."

"If Ricky were to come back, he'd have to hold a team meeting and explain to us what his thinking was," defensive end Jay Williams said to the Miami Herald. "He may think he doesn't have to do that, but he definitely has to because he quit [seven] days before camp started. He let all of us down."

Williams told the Herald that coach Dave Wannstedt seemed more intent on extracting an apology than anything else during their conversation. "The only thing he said was that he was upset I didn't call to apologize," Williams said. "The ego on this guy."

In telling the Post that the team will not let the running back be a distraction, general manager Rick Spielman said, "We're going to let him hang himself."

The Dolphins have requested that Williams return $8.6 million in bonus and incentive money they say he owes by Monday, but a source close to Williams told the Herald that he doesn't have the liquid assets to do so at once.

He could avoid the entire matter by returning under his current contract because, the Herald reported, it's not out of the question that the NFL would allow him to play this season.

Because he has failed three drug tests, Williams faces an automatic four-game suspension. Furthermore, the NFL's drug program stipulates that when a player in the program retires and returns within one calendar year it counts as another violation.

However, league rules allow for the possibility that the NFL Players Association and the league could negotiate a settlement to allow Williams to return sooner.

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