I hope everyone had a terrific holiday weekend. And I hope you all did take a step back for a moment to remember what the Memorial Day holiday is all about - which is summed up pretty well right here.
Here is what you might have missed from this past weekend while you were out celebrating the holiday.
RANDY STARKS ARRESTED
Of course, the big story this weekend was some bad news for the Miami Dolphins. Defensive lineman Randy Starks was arrested in South Beach. Reports indicate that Starks was driving a freight-liner with 13 passengers in it - one of which was a woman sitting on his lap - when he hit a police officer while driving slowly. The officer was reportedly on foot trying to pull over Starks for half a block. After knocking on the window a second time, the officer was struck by the truck as he approached the driver-side window - as Starks moved "forward and slightly to the left" and pinned the officer between his truck and another vehicle. Starks was arrested followjng this incident and charged with aggravated battery on a police officer - a felony.
The truck was also found to be using plates that weren't registered to that particular vehicle, prompting an additional misdemeanor charge.
While we shouldn't jump to conclusions until we hear all sides of the story - and neither the Dolphins nor Starks has released any comments about the incident - you can't help but wonder what in the world Starks was thinking. Who piles 13 passengers into one vehicle? I mean - in high school, we tried to see how many people we could fit into my little Ford Escort (and, including the trunk, we fit nine). But we didn't then proceed to drive down a busy road with bumper-to-bumper traffic because - odds were - we'd get caught. At the very least, it's probably safe to say Starks isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
But more importantly for us is how the Dolphins handle this situation. Starks was a valuable member of the Dolphins' defensive line rotation last season and figured to be an even bigger part this year following the release of Vonnie Holliday. Whether he replaced Holliday as a starting DE or became Miami's top backup defensive end, the Dolphins were counting on Starks to play a big role. Randy was also often seen on the field as a pass-rushing defensive tackle in passing situations.
So now the Dolphins face a tough decision. Do you let him slide (assuming he survives the legal process) because he's the most experienced defensive end currently on the roster? Or do you make an example out of Starks and release him, placing more pressure on guys like Lionel Dotson and Tony McDaniel? Releasing him would send a message to the guys on the roster - one screw up and you could be gone. But at what cost?
It'll be interesting to see how this situation plays out. Perhaps Vonnie Holliday - who remains unsigned - should keep his phone close to him at all times.
THE MATURE RICKY WILLIAMS
There was a great article in the Sun-Sentinel over the weekend about the evolution of Ricky Williams - which I suggest you all read. Ricky turned 32 last week and it's clear to me that he's a guy who is just at peace now with his life - something we couldn't say about Williams a few years ago.
"I've been happy a lot in life, but the difference now is I'm happy in football," Williams said. "I fit in well here."
When I hear Ricky say things like that, you can't help but wonder what he was going through in his mind when he was younger. Unless you suffer from a social anxiety disorder, it's probably impossible to know what it felt like. And Williams, throughout his career in the NFL, has been a player fans love to debate. I know I was involved in some heated ones back when he supposedly "quit on his team to smoke weed." But that was a different Ricky - a younger, more immature Ricky. A Ricky who wasn't happy "in football."
And that makes him all that more likeable now.
Here's a guy who just loves to play the game and, finally, fits in with his team. He doesn't care about his legacy. He doesn't care about his stats or his role. He just loves playing...and winning.
My favorite part of the Sun-Sentinel's article about Ricky was the very beginning about his daily routine:
He awakens by 6 a.m. each day and enters a room in his home set up just for this ritual. It's empty. It's quiet. He takes a seat and says a prayer, a simple prayer, often for the likes of good health and good friends.
"And that the linemen open holes," Ricky Williams says.
Well said, Ricky.
-The Palm Beach Post's Edgar Thompson seems to be wondering about what we touched on last week - Miami's problem at guard following the injury to Donald Thomas. With all the money the Dolphins invested along the offensive line, you'd think we'd be more confident in that unit than we are heading into training camp.
-There's some Ted Ginn talk in the Miami Herald - telling us what we already know. With the Dolphins not adding a true #1 receiver, Ginn will be expected to step up.
-The Palm Beach Post takes a look at Miami's suddenly deep secondary. What a difference one offseason makes.