- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

At least the cannabis-loving Ricky Williams did not end up sleeping with the fishes in the South Pacific, as was the case with the similarly enlightened Bison Dele.

Instead, Williams ended up in a tent in Australia, in a holistic medicine school in California and in a yoga center in India before returning to the employ of the Dolphins as a vegetarian running back who is 30 pounds lighter than the last time he lugged a pigskin in the NFL.

The Dolphins only can hope that Williams makes no demand to carry a football made out of synthetic fibers.

“Being away and having a chance to learn a lot about myself, I realized that freedom is having the strength to be in any situation and be content with that situation,” Williams said.

His newly found understanding of freedom was encouraged by a court that ordered him to return $8.6million to the Dolphins, which is a tidy sum that could not be resolved with a bong in one hand and a bag of munchies in the other.

As far as we know, there is no life-affirming philosophy that provides context to an $8.6million bill.

As Leigh Steinberg, Williams’ agent, put it, “It’s like the sword of Damocles hanging over someone’s head.”

So that is what happened to Williams’ dreadlocks.

They were removed to hold the sword that was suspended over his head.

Freedom, it seems, is just another word for $8.6million, to paraphrase the late Janis Joplin.

Williams indicated as much in response to an obvious question:

Why did he relinquish the nomadic life of a yogi for the regimented life of a football star?

To which Williams said: “Why? Why? I don’t know. I don’t know.”

By the way, the background music accompanying the observations of Williams is from “The Twilight Zone.”

The Dolphins, from coach Nick Saban to his previously irritated teammates, have no choice but to accept the uncertainty of the mini-Williams following a 4-12 season.

To them, a mini-Williams is better than no Williams at all.

Williams issued a mea culpa to teammates and fans alike. He acknowledged how his actions could be construed as selfish, narcissistic, self-absorbed and just plain nutty.

While searching for Ricky Williams, he claimed to find a better place.

And unlike Debra Winger, his place did not involve motherhood.

It obviously involved a series of breathing exercises intended to integrate the self with the ultimate principle of $8.6million.

It is great that Williams found a better place, for all Dave Wannstedt got out of it was a lousy pink slip and the team a place among the also-rans.

Williams claims he has stopped dancing with Cheech and Chong. Either that, or he has a Whizzinator slipped up his jock in order to beat the NFL’s sharp-eyed drug testers.

Williams said his objection to some of the NFL rules contributed to his one-year sabbatical. They do not call it the No Fun League for nothing.

Williams is one for the books, and that book no doubt will be coming to a store near you soon enough.

If it is as well thought out as his latest press conference, it should be a real doozy of a read.

Chapter I: Why?

Chapter II: I Don’t Know.

Chapter III: That’s Some Good Bleep.

It takes all kinds, as it is said, and Williams is the kind who just climbed down from the mountaintop, with the requisite unkempt beard and the hair going every which way. The Dolphins probably hosed him down for lice before handing him a helmet.

To his credit, Williams has not invested in a desalination plant in Beirut, as Dele did.

The desalination plant in Beirut has come to serve as a kind of mental litmus test for investment-minded professional athletes.

Real estate? Yes. Restaurant chain? Yes.

Desalination plant in Beirut? Hmm.

Williams should have borrowed from the workhorse running back he most resembled and left it at that.

“I’m bored, I’m broke, I’m back,” John Riggins said after sitting out the 1980 season.

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