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Ricky Williams says Bill Parcells text convinced him to retire

February 8, 2012 |  8:00 am

 Ricky Williams really enjoyed playing football for the Baltimore Ravens this year. And he was really looking forward to coming back for the final year of his contract next year ... until he got a text from Bill Parcells that changed his mind.

Williams told Sid Rosenberg on WQAM in Miami about the text exchange with his former mentor with the Dolphins that led to his retirement, which he announced Tuesday.

"I was really excited to express to him how excited I was about football and about the way the season ended and how much I was looking forward to coming back, and his reply kind of shook me a little bit," Williams said of Parcells. "He said, well, that's good to hear, he said, you know, don't chase this thing too long. You can contribute in other ways."

When asked why Parcells would say that, Williams referred to a conversation the two of them had years ago about players knowing when it's time to leave the game. The often-enigmatic football player who led the league in rushing with the Dolphins in 2002 said he thought back to that discussion after receiving the text from Parcells.

"I allowed myself to think if I could be doing anything in the world, what would I be doing?" Williams said. "And what came to mind is I'd be travelling a little bit, I'd be going to classes and I'd be going back to school.

"So I weighed what is it going to feel like to be on a football field next year and what is it going to feel like doing the things I want to do , and it just felt lighter, more expansive to be doing the things I want to do."

Last season Williams rushed for 444 yards and two touchdowns as a backup to Ray Rice and became the 26th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards rushing in a career that started with the New Orleans Saints in 1999. At the end of the season Williams expressed excitement about another year with a Ravens team that made it to the AFC Championship, but in the end it wasn't enough to convince him to continue his career.

"I would've had more of a role in the offense. I would have put up bigger numbers and I'm convinced we would've gone to the Super Bowl and we would have won the Super Bowl," Williams said. "And I don't know if people will understand it, but me being able to see that, to feel that, to perceive it, to know it -- it made it that I really didn't have to go out there and prove anything."

Rosenberg asked Williams if the text from Parcells is the reason "you decided to do what you probably wanted to do anyway?"

Williams responded: "Yes, I think that's fair to say. Yes."


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