Retired back seeks to have award thrown out

Updated: December 1, 2004, 7:06 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Ricky Williams wants overturned the $8.6 million award an arbitrator said he owes the Miami Dolphins for breaching his contract.

Williams filed papers in federal court Nov. 24 -- the papers were not entered into the court's computer system until this week -- saying "the arbitrator acted in manifest disregard of the clear and unequivocal laws of Florida and Louisiana," and that "enforcement of the award would violate well-established public policy."

The document, a response from Williams and the NFL Players Association to the arbitrator's October ruling in favor of the Dolphins, includes no elaboration, but says Williams and the union will soon seek to formally "vacate, modify or challenge the award."

The Dolphins are suing their former running back to recoup the money. Through a spokesman, the team declined comment on the Williams situation Wednesday.

Edward Soto, a Miami attorney who filed Williams' response, declined comment and referred calls to another attorney, Jeffrey Kessler. A message left at Kessler's New York office was not immediately returned.

Another of Williams' attorneys, David Cornwell, said last week that Williams will serve a four-game suspension beginning later this month and then be reinstated with the Dolphins by the NFL.

The league, however, has said that no agreement is finalized.

Williams, who retired before training camp, is required to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. His contract with the Dolphins would be valid again following that suspension.

He rushed for 3,225 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins, including a league-leading 1,853 yards in 2002. They acquired the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner in a trade with New Orleans after the 2001 season.

Without Williams, around whom much of Miami's offense was built, the Dolphins (2-9) have struggled and will finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 1988.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press