Ricky Williams Describes Insane Introduction to Drug Use in NFL

by Dustin Schutte

When it comes to unique stories in the NFL, Ricky Williams immediately comes to mind. The running back possessed all the tools necessary to go down as one of the best to ever play the game. He also took the field in an era when marijuana use was heavily frowned upon.

Because of that, Williams’ career in the NFL didn’t go quite as planned. He played 10 seasons in the league with the New Orleans Saints (1999-2001), Miami Dolphins (2002-03, 2005, 2007-10) and Baltimore Ravens (2011), with his last season coming in 2011. He missed an entire season (2004) because of retirement and another (2006) after testing positive for a banned substance.

Recently, though, Williams talked about his introduction to drug use in the NFL. As a rookie, he was taught how best to “protect himself” and enjoy a longer career.

“My rookie year, a Hall of Fame player on the team, he’s in the Hall of Fame now, invited me over to his house and he gave me the speech about how to take care of yourself in the NFL,” Williams told USA TODAY, “And he pulled out some cannabis, crushed it up, split a blunt, opened it up, put the cannabis in there, took a Vicodin, crushed it up, sprinkled the Vico in there, rolled up the blunt and passed it to me.”

If that’s not a “welcome to the NFL, rookie” moment, what is?

Ricky Williams’ Career in the NFL

When Ricky Williams entered the 1999 NFL Draft, there was a lot of hype. He won the 1998 Heisman Trophy and earned unanimous All-America honors twice during his time at Texas. The New Orleans Saints were eager to land the running back with the No. 5 overall selection.

He enjoyed great years with the Saints, posting 1,000-yard campaigns in back-to-back seasons (2000-01) and accounting for 16 total touchdowns in that two-year span. Then he went to Miami and had his breakout year in 2002.

With the Dolphins in 2002, Williams piled up 1,853 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning his only Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors of his career. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark just twice more in his career (2003 and 2009), both times with the Dolphins.

Williams concluded his NFL career with 10,009 rushing yards, 2,606 receiving yards and 76 total touchdowns.