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Williams still faces a four-game suspension

7/19/2005 - NFL Ricky Williams Miami Dolphins + more

MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has been
cleared by the NFL to report Sunday with the rest of the team for
the start of training camp, a year and a day after he abruptly
retired.
The league's 2002 rushing champion decided to seek reinstatement
after sitting out last season. He still faces a four-game
suspension at the start of the season for violating the NFL
substance abuse program.
"We've taken the steps necessary to ensure an on-time arrival,
and he's excited about rejoining his team," said Williams' agent,
Leigh Steinberg.
The NFL cleared Williams to report on the first day of camp
without incurring a further violation of the drug program, league
spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday. Williams acknowledged shortly
after retiring that he failed drug tests and faced a suspension for
testing positive three times for marijuana.
Steinberg said Williams studied holistic medicine at a school in
northern California from October to April and finished the first
year of a three-year program, then spent April at a yoga center in
India and became certified as an instructor.
"Both emphasize natural methods of healing and are opposed to
the use of drugs and alcohol to alter consciousness," Steinberg
said.
After retiring, Williams lost more than 20 pounds on a
vegetarian diet. Steinberg said his weight is back above 215, still
below his listed weight of 226 on the 2004 preseason roster.
Williams rushed for 3,225 yards and 25 touchdowns in two seasons
with the Dolphins. He informed coach Dave Wannstedt of his
retirement plans last July 23, one week before the start of
training camp.
A court later found the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner in breach of
contract by retiring, and ordered him to repay the team $8.6
million. The team has not yet sought to collect the settlement, and
new coach Nick Saban offered Williams another chance to play for
the Dolphins, who begin workouts Monday.
"Ricky and coach Saban seem to have established a very good
rapport in the past several months," Steinberg said.