Williams Off To Good Start With Dolphins | FinHeaven - Miami Dolphins Forums

Williams Off To Good Start With Dolphins


We Are Still Going To The SB
May 24, 2002
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DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- The Miami Dolphins' acclaimed new running back stood out in an aqua stocking cap over his dreadlocks on an 85-degree day. ADVERTISEMENT

Fashion faux pas aside, Ricky Williams is blending in nicely, with none of the controversy that accompanied his arrival in New Orleans three years ago.

The relationship between Williams and the Dolphins is still in the honeymoon stage -- no jokes about wedding dresses, please -- but so far he has won only rave reviews.

``I'm very pleased with the way he's working, on and off the field,'' coach Dave Wannstedt said Tuesday following a minicamp practice, one in a series during the offseason.

``The players on our team have accepted him not because of his past reputation, but because of what he has done here the past two months.''

Williams shrugged off the compliment.

``I've always worked hard and done what the coaches asked of me,'' he said. ``I just came in and did what I'm used to doing.''

He eagerly embraced the clean slate, however. Williams came to Miami after three rocky seasons in New Orleans, where he posed in a wedding gown with coach Mike Ditka and later recoiled from the attention that came with being touted -- inaccurately, it turned out -- as the Saints' savior.

Williams closed the final chapter on his Louisiana misadventure Tuesday, when he entered a guilty plea to a speeding charge through his attorney and was fined $500. The plea stemmed from Williams' arrest in February near Crowley, La., on a charge of driving 126 mph -- perhaps a sign of his eagerness for a change of scenery.

There have no such lapses since his arrival in South Florida. And despite being hyped as the Dolphins' best running back since Larry Csonka in the 1970s, Williams finds his new surroundings less oppressive, at least so far.

``It's a lot different from New Orleans,'' the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner said. ``In New Orleans, we're the only show in town. Here you've got people from all over the world.

``I can go places, and people don't really know who I am. I got used to going places and people knew who I was. Now I've got to get unused to it.''

Williams hardly sounded disappointed about that, and the buzz around him is sure to build. Even on Tuesday, his five-minute interview session following practice attracted a dozen TV cameras.

``Is it July?'' an amused Wannstedt asked.

No, training camp is still two months away, and Williams' only workouts so far have been in shorts. But even during non-contact drills, Wannstedt senses the newcomer sparking an offense that has too often sputtered since Dan Marino's retirement two years ago.

``Ricky shows great energy just by how he runs 30 or 40 yards every time he touches the ball,'' Wannstedt said. ``That in itself gets everybody going.

``I can't wait until we get the pads on, because what he does best is with shoulder pads on.''

Williams can wait. As he notes, the offseason is short and the weather already hot, so this is a good time to cool it.

But when the time comes, his expectations will be as high as anyone's.

``This offense is going to give me a chance to run for a lot of yards and score a lot of touchdowns,'' he said. ``I'm excited.''

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