Cris Carter, the former Minnesota Vikings great turned sports analyst writes:
Don’t compare this situation to some of the great players who have played and had short careers.
There’s no comparison between Ricky and Jim Brown’s careers, or Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell. More recently, I don’t think you can even compare him with my old teammate, Robert Smith, who had a longer career and had established himself as a premier running back for several years prior to retiring.
Ricky Williams had one great year.
To me, this decision sends up a red flag that maybe something is going on that we don’t know about that would cause him not to have interest in playing football any longer.
As the article we linked to yesterday on Williams noted, Ricky has had multiple fines for smoking marijuana–and a big part of his retiring sounds like he was sick of having to take NFL-mandated drug tests.
Given how high signing bonuses for top draft choices are immediately out of college, it’s a very safe bet that there will be an increasing number of early retirees from football. The ultimate example has got to be Ryan Leaf: huge 11 million dollar signing bonus from the San Diego Chargers, bust in the pros, terrible work ethic, out of the NFL in four years. As Rodney Harrison of the Chargers said, “He took his money and he ran.”
Ricky ran, took his money, and went home.