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Ricky excited for upcoming season, will retire in "a couple of years"

One of the best pieces of news this off-season for all of us Dolphin fans has to do with Ricky Williams.  Williams is reportedly in "tip-top shape" and is excited about this season.  And for once, it seems that luck is on Ricky's side.

You see, Cedric Benson invited Williams to spend a day on Lake Travis a few weeks back.  Williams declined the invitation.  And Benson?  Well he had a rough day.

That's the kind of change in luck that Dolphin fans are all hoping for out of their team.  Last year was a very unlucky season, where the breaks all just seemed to go against them.  But this year will hopefully be different.  And some of that has to do with Ricky.

Williams, who will be 31 next week, doesn't have the usual wear and tear that a typical 31 year old running back has.  He'll also benefit from only having to share the workload, as he's expected to split carries with a healthy Ronnie Brown (at least, that's what Bill Parcells told him).

And speaking of Parcells, Ricky says he likes Bill a lot:

"He’s really different than I expected. It seems to me his greatest joy is developing true friendships with his players, being a mentor and trying to help people, not just in football but in life."

"I was expecting him not to talk to me at all. I was expecting to get a letter in the mail saying I was going to be a free agent."

“I like him more than I thought I would.”

This really is great news.  You'll remember that Parcells said a while back that he didn't want any "thugs or hoodlums" on this team.  What I get from Ricky's interview is that Bill doesn't see Ricky as a thug.  And I have to agree.  I've never thought of Ricky as a bad person.  Even when all the suspensions were going down, I wasn't angry.  Instead, I was just saddened.  Ricky was just a human being struggling to deal with a social disorder.  So I'm very excited to see him back on the field.

And for a reminder of how great Ricky can be, head over here.

Also, look for more from this interview with Ricky Williams over at the Austin American-Statesman's website some time on Thursday.

**UPDATE** While I was making some rounds reading the local papers (well, the online versions), I came across this little tidbit about Williams' plans for the future.  Says Ricky:

"All professional athletes have to come face to face one day with their professional mortality and finding a way to cope with it. I've managed that. I have a couple of more years of football left in me and then I'll go off and explore the world after that."

So does a "couple of more years" mean he'll retire when his contract expires following the '09 season?  That would make sense.  Sure, he doesn't have the same wear on his tires that normal 32 year old backs usually have.  But we've known for a while that Ricky's sole purpose in life isn't to play football.  He's a very spiritual person and, really, he's a very unique person.  So it would make sense for him to play out his contract and then ride off into the sunset.

My question, though, is if you think that the Bill Parcells' belief that we talked about yesterday (about how once a player starts thinking about retirement, he's essentially done) should be a concern for us this season.  Should those who are "hating" on Jason Taylor for looking ahead to his life after football (like myself) also "hate" on Ricky?  I would argue that this is different.  After all, Ricky is in Davie regularly and has been working out.  He hasn't been dancing in Hollywood.  Now I'm not saying that Taylor isn't working out or that he isn't in great shape.  He's just not in "football mode" while Ricky does clearly seem to be gearing up for the '08 season.

Just some things to ponder, I guess.

Thoughts below...