Ricky Williams says he failed third drug test before quitting — (ESPN NFL)

SSRI Ed note: Promising NFL player takes Paxil, loses motivation, takes drugs, quits.

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July 29, 2004

Ricky Williams says he failed third drug test before quitting – NFL – ESPN

MIAMI — Retired Dolphins running back Ricky Williams said he failed a third drug test for marijuana use, which would cost him a four-game suspension if he decides to return to the NFL, The Miami Herald reported on its Web site Thursday.

Williams told the newspaper that marijuana played a larger role in his retirement than he indicated when he walked away after just five pro seasons. He said he learned of the failed test and possible suspension days before telling coach Dave Wannstedt last week that he was through playing.

Williams said, however, that there were “a hundred reasons” for his surprising decision to retire, and his desire to continue smoking marijuana was only one of them.

“I didn’t quit football because I failed a drug test,” he told the Herald. “I failed a drug test because I was ready to quit football.”

Williams said he’s not addicted to marijuana.

Coach Dave Wannstedt said the Dolphins have received no notification from the NFL regarding a third failed drug test, and Williams’ latest revelation caught them by surprise.

“We knew nothing about it,” Wannstedt said. “I’m totally surprised and shocked again.”

Wannstedt said he’s eager to move beyond the Williams situation and open training camp Saturday.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment when reached by The Associated Press.

In May, three South Florida newspapers quoted unidentified sources saying Williams tested positive for marijuana and faced a fine of at least $650,000 for violating the substance-abuse policy for the second time since joining the Dolphins in 2002.

He told the Herald for Thursday’s story that he already decided to quit football before that second positive test. He appealed that fine, but received word last week that his appeal had been denied, the Herald reported.

While the appeal was pending, Williams said, he continued smoking marijuana during a trip to Europe and failed a third test upon his return.

He said he had been using a masking agent to cleanse his system while being randomly tested for two seasons but he didn’t do that before the last test.

Williams first failed a drug test soon after arriving in Miami in 2002, the Herald reported. He spent much of his two seasons with the Dolphins in the league’s drug program, seeing a therapist weekly and taking eight to 10 random urine tests a month, the story said.

The former Heisman Trophy winner played three seasons for New Orleans and considered retirement while with the Saints, coach Jim Haslett said.

“In 2001, Ricky came in my office and told me he was going to retire and play baseball,” Haslett said. “I don’t know if we talked him out of it. We told him he wasn’t a very good baseball player — maybe that did it.”

Williams didn’t blossom until he was dealt to the Dolphins in 2002 for two first-round draft picks.

At times, Miami’s biggest trade since 1970 looked like a steal. Williams led the NFL in 2002 with 1,853 yards rushing and broke nine team records. Last season he ran for 1,372 yards despite little offensive support.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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Talk Today,  USA TODAY


After winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Texas, Ricky Williams’s dream came true-he was going to play professional football. And not only was he going to play for the New Orleans Saints, they gave up all of their draft picks for him, a “first” in NFL history.  However, off the field Ricky was battling other challenges – his fear of people. Ricky has always thought of himself as a shy person, but while in New Orleans, he started to realize that what he was feeling was more than just shyness. During media interviews, Ricky wore his helmet so reporters couldn’t really see him — this allowed him to feel safe because it was a barrier between him and them. When approached by fans, Ricky would often times literally run away so that he wouldn’t have to face them. Even worse, the media portrayed him as aloof and eccentric. Eventually, Ricky was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and began treatment Today, he actually looks forward to speaking with reporters, hanging out with his teammates and spending time with his children. Chat with Ricky Williams about social anxiety disorder and its treatments.

Editor’s note: Ricky Williams is working with the drug company GlaxoSmithKline to educate the public about social anxiety disorder.


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Depression-awareness campaign aids Bradshaw too (excerpt)

Chicago Tribune

October 03, 2003|BY DON PIERSON

A little more than a year ago, Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and talked about being unable to leave his house…

Maybe the NFL isn’t such a macho world after all.

Bradshaw was in Chicago to promote the drug Paxil, which he and Williams now take. His sense of humor still intact, Bradshaw said he broke down in front of HBO cameras after a long interview and admits he gets emotional at times when discussing a subject shunned by most males and taboo inside locker rooms.