MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins have filed a grievance against
Ricky Williams, asking an arbitrator to uphold their contractual
right to recover $8.6 million paid to the retired running back
between signing bonus and incentives, the Miami Herald reported on
its Web site Saturday.
NFL Players' Association attorney Richard Berthelsen told the
newspaper that the Dolphins asked that the hearing be expedited so
the case can proceed within the next few weeks.
The union and teams are limited to four such requests each year,
Berthelsen said, saying that most such arbitration hearings are
held after the season. Berthelsen said the request was made through
NFL Management Council attorney Dennis Curran.
Berthelsen said he plans to argue that Williams be allowed to
keep the money.
"First of all, you're talking about signing bonus that the club
didn't pay," Berthelsen told the Herald. "How do the Dolphins
have a right to ask for money back that they didn't pay? As for the
incentives, that's money that Williams earned for his performance
the past two years. The Dolphins will have to prove that they were
irreparably harmed, and I'm not sure how they can do that."
Before the grievance, the Dolphins mailed a letter to Williams
asking him to report or pay the money back by Monday.
The Herald reported last week that Williams called the team,
telling them he would come back if he received a new contract. The
Dolphins declined that request.
The Dolphins refused to comment on the grievance.