Still without Williams, Dolphins ready to move on
DAVIE, Fla. — If Ricky Williams makes a comeback, it most likely will be with a new team.
Miami Dolphins coach Cam Cameron, speaking publicly about Williams' latest drug relapse for the first time, said nothing has changed regarding the suspended running back's status. But several Dolphins said they're ready to play without Williams, and Cameron acknowledged it's difficult to salvage the careers of troubled players.
"The easiest predictor of future behavior is previous behavior," Cameron said Friday. "Could I have made that statement 15 years ago• Absolutely not. I was trying to save every guy in the game.
"Ultimately it comes down to the team. You want to be as fair as you can be, but no individual comes above the team."
When asked what his batting average is trying to "save" troubled players, Cameron said, "Very low."
Since becoming Miami's coach in January, Cameron has declined to say whether he wants Williams back. He explained his reluctance to talk about Williams.
"I will not allow our fans to be let down by people that are not on our roster — not again," Cameron said. "It's my responsibility not to let that happen. We have the greatest fans in the game, and we've got men on our team that we're going to focus on."
An NFL rushing champion for the Dolphins in 2002, Williams tested positive for marijuana again last month, which will delay his return to the league until at least September.
Williams, who turns 30 on Monday, has played only 12 games since 2003. His current suspension began in April 2006 after he violated the league's drug policy for the fourth time.
Williams played in the Canadian Football League in 2006, then taught yoga in California. Last week he said he hopes to play again "for whatever team is fortunate enough to believe in me."
Following the Dolphins' offseason practice Friday, running back Ronnie Brown said he was surprised by Williams' latest positive drug test but didn't consider it a setback for the team.
"We were beyond that point," said Brown, the starter the past two seasons. "None of us knows why he does what he does or the choices he makes."
One signal the Dolphins weren't counting on Williams came last month, when they selected running back Lorenzo Booker of Florida State in the third round of the draft. Booker has been assigned Williams' locker.
Williams still owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract when he sat out the 2004 season. Since he was acquired from New Orleans in 2002, the Dolphins have endured a five-year playoff drought, the longest in franchise history.
"It has been a rough ride," linebacker Zach Thomas said. "We have to quit looking for excuses and move on. Whoever is here, we've got to work with that and quit looking at all the drama that is usually off the field. There has been quite a bit over the last five years. ...
"Ricky is a good person. He might have a disorder or something. Hopefully he gets help. I'm a little selfish, because I would want him on the team. I know he would make our team better. But I'm moving on and worrying about what we've got."