[Update]: It's official now, as Texas has issued a press release confirming the earlier report. It's worth reading, as it sums up all of Ricky's many accomplishments. --Wescott
After an up-and-down NFL career that featured a great deal of success interspersed with some, uh, quirky moments, ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting on Tuesday afternoon that former Texas great Ricky Williams is planning on ending that tumultuous career after 11 years in the league.
Williams spent what could end up being his last season as an NFL player serving as the back-up to Ray Rice with the Baltimore Ravens, rushing for 444 yards and two touchdowns. The high mark came late in the season when he went over 10,000 rushing yards for his career, becoming only the 26th player in the history of the NFL to do so.
In 2009 with the Dolphins, Williams surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time since 2003, the longest such span between 1,000-yard seasons in history.
But for NFL fans, Williams will probably be more known wearing a helmet during interviews as a result of his social anxiety disorder or posing with Mike Ditka in a wedding dress or abruptly retiring following a series of failed drug tests and returning mostly because he owed the Dolphins a great deal of money after violating his contract.
Texas fans, however, will likely choose to remember him setting the NCAA career rushing record mark against the Aggies on his way to winning a Heisman Trophy during the first season of the Mack Brown era.
If Williams is indeed ready to hang up his cleats, he leaves a legacy as complex as his own personality. It's not particularly easy to make sense of it, but as a player in a league that often demands conformity, Williams clearly walked his own path. It seems commendable that he worked so hard to keep his identity from being completely tied to football, something that should serve him well as he transitions to life after the game.
It also seems that he fell in love with the game again after his return to football and perhaps even found some solace in it. In his late years, he was in excellent shape, ran hard, and still had some of that dynamic ability that made him so successful.
If he's going out, he's going out on top and it's good to know that he won't be one of those former players sitting by the phone waiting for that call that never comes.
Thanks for being true to yourself, Ricky. And hook 'em, always.