Ricky Williams to retire after 11 seasons in the NFL

Ricky Williams Ricky Williams #34 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball as Darian Stewart #20 of the St. Louis Rams chases during the game on September 25, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St Louis, Missouri.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams has to decided to hang up his cleats after 11 up and down years in the NFL.

Williams told WQAM in Miami on Tuesday that a text exchange with Bill Parcells, his former boss with the Miami Dolphins, prompted him to think about his future and ultimately led him to decide to retire.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Bill Parcells texted Williams to check up on him. Williams responded that he felt good and couldn’t “wait till next year.” Parcells’ response to Williams’ reply changed the running back’s perspective, however.

“That’s good. Don’t chase this thing too long. You can contribute in other ways,” Parcells wrote in his text, according to the newspaper.

Williams said Wednesday in an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” that Parcells’ text was “huge” in helping him to rethink his future.

“After I started to think about it I was very grateful to him for kind of releasing me, allowing me to let my mind expand to consider what else I could achieve.”

Williams had retired once before, eventually missing the 2004 season. He was facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy by using marijuana before he shockingly announced he was leaving the game. He returned in 2005 to the Dolphins, then left to spend the 2006 season with Toronto of the Canadian Football League.

He then returned back to NFL again with the dolphins in 2007 and then traded after the 2010-2011 season to the Ravens.

Williams led the NFL in 2002 with 1,853 yards rushing for the Miami Dolphins and received his lone Pro Bowl invitation that season. He backed that up with 1,372 yards in 2003, giving him what remains the two most productive rushing seasons in Dolphins history.

Now 34, Williams assumed a backup role with the Ravens last season. Playing behind Ray Rice, Williams gained 444 yards on 108 attempts and scored two touchdowns in his final season giving him a total of 10,004 rushing yards and 75 touchdowns making him one of only 26 players to eclipse the 10,000 career rushing yard mark.

The Pack keep on rolling

Aaron Rodgers completed 23-of-30 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns and added six rushes for 21 yards Monday against the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers was surgical again, and is now up to 28 passing touchdowns against just three interceptions. He also tied Peyton Manning’s record of nine straight games with a passer rating above 100, and with the reeling Bucs on deck at home, he should have no problem eclipsing that mark. With that said, the Green Packers are 9-0 while riding the back of the leagues best quarterback.

The defense has been suspect all year allowing the second highest total passing yards per game with 284.3 yards per game with adequate rush defense allowing 100.4 yards per game. But who cares about those stats?! Aaron Rodgers is completing 72.5% of his passes and is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards and 50+ touchdowns. Last person to do that? Tom Brady and those magnificent pats back in 2007 when they reached the super bowl. If history means anything then you all can count on the big cheese being in another super bowl.

Haynesworth “worth” the trouble?

On Tuesday, the Patriots made the somewhat surprising decision to release defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. And on Wednesday, Haynesworth was claimed by the Buccaneers off of waivers.

To make room for Haynesworth, the Bucs released the recently-signed John McCargo.

This is shocking because, as we noted recently, there weren’t many teams that were a fit for Big Al’s style of not trying hard. But it does make sense because the Bucs recently lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the season due to a torn biceps muscle.

This isn’t even the first time Tampa Bay’s been interested in Haynesworth — they flirted with the defensive tackle in free agency before Haynesworth decided to sign with the Redskins. (Presumably the whole “more guaranteed money with less guaranteed effort” thing was too valuable to pass up.)

Bucs GM Mark Dominik says he watched “all 134 of Haynesworth’s plays with NE twice before putting in a claim” and that he planned on having Haynesworth in for practice as early as Thursday.

“I have had a chance to talk to him already and he was – as you would hope – excited and fired up,” Dominik said, via Bucaneers.com. “He asked how soon we could get him a flight because he wants to be in tonight and go to practice tomorrow.  That was very encouraging.”

Now Haynesworth joins a defensive line rotation that features young players like Brian Price, and will hope to shore up the Tampa rush defense.

There’s upside to be had here, because a big close to the season for Haynesworth could net him another contract with a team. But given that he couldn’t even get things going in New England, football’s version of the Betty Ford Clinic, it’s hard to imagine him playing hard for Tampa now.

The Lions finally show their fangs

Fluke or no fluke, the Detroit Lions sit on top of the NFC North tied for first place with the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Never in a million year would I ever think I’d write that sentence but it’s finally here. With pro bowl type production from 2009’s first overall draft pick Matthew Stafford, a newfound swagger on the defensive side due to 2010’s second overall pick, Ndamukong Suh and “Megatron” himself, Calvin Johnson, on pace to break the single season touchdown record, it’s tough not put the Lions up there with Packers. Yes, we are only a quarter of the way through the season but they have already shown they can win big but also come back from behind so I’m feeling good about this team. I expect an 11-5 or maybe even a 12-4 season if they keep this play up.

NFL’s disappointement of the week

I would love to put the Indianapolis Colts here even before their Monday night game tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but I’ll leave the trophy on this weeks shelf Mr. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Once again another superb performance by the cool, calm and composed rookie who completed 27 of 46 passes for 374 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for a couple of goal line touchdowns.

But like most disappoints, this performance has a sad ending. The panthers outgained the bears in total yards 543 to 317 to no avail. Costly mistakes by Newton(an INT returned for a touchdown in the first quarter by D.J. Moore ), the special teams(Devin Hester ‘s NFL record tying 11th punt return for a touchdown) and a consistently poor run defense that allowed Matt Forte to shred them apart for 205 yards is what undoubtedly cost the Panthers a much needed win for the frustrated rookie Newton.

“I play the game and I want to win every single game I play,” said Newton, who sat by his locker for an extended period with a towel on his head. “Obviously, it hurts when I lose, but it’s not just me. We have guys on your team that you know they have given it all they got. For me, to some degree, I felt like I let some teammates down. But just to look into those guys eyes each and every play and to know those guys are battling, it just works wonders for our whole team and its chemistry.”

Let’s hope next week’s match-up against the New Orleans Saints can be a bit different against their spotty pass defense. This is a must-win game for the increasingly flustered rookie in need of some support.