*Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams on Tuesday announced his retirement from the NFL after 11 seasons, reports ESPN.
“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life,” Williams said in a statement released by the University of Texas. “I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly fun. I want to thank all my fans, teammates, coaches and supporters for the strength they’ve given me to overcome so much.”
Williams briefly retired once before, missing the 2004 season. He was facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy before he shockingly announced he was leaving the game. He returned in 2005, then left to spend the 2006 season with Toronto of the Canadian Football League.
On his Twitter account, Williams wrote: “Thank you all, but this ain’t it, I’m gonna do something really special. ‘Be you and change the world,’ ”
Since winning the Heisman Trophy at Texas and joining the New Orleans Saints in 1999, Williams has rushed for 10,009 yards and scored 74 touchdowns. He is one of only 26 NFL running backs to rush for more than 10,000 yards in a career.
Then-Saints coach Mike Ditka traded all of his draft picks in 1999 and New Orleans’ first- and third-round picks in 2000 to pick Williams fifth overall. He has had five 1,000-yard seasons and served as a workhorse for both the Saints and Miami Dolphins.
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.
“I have to thank Coach (John) Harbaugh and the Ravens organization for the opportunity they gave me this year,” Williams said in the statement. “I had so much fun and really appreciated the chance to finish on such a great note.”
Harbaugh said during his time in Baltimore, Williams “made a valuable and lasting contribution. I especially enjoyed getting to know him as a person, and I have the utmost respect for him.
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