Dolphins RB Williams suspended one year

MIAMI (Ticker) - Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams’ latest violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy will cost him the 2006 season.

After violating the league’s substance abuse policy for a fourth time, Williams was suspended for one year Tuesday.

The suspension was handed down after Williams’ appeal for his latest positive test was denied. Previous positive tests were for marijuana, which Williams acknowledged using.

“I’m disappointed with the decision but I respect it,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m proud of my association with the National Football League and look forward to returning to the Dolphins in 2007.”

After stunning the football world by announcing his retirement during training camp in July 2004, Williams returned to the NFL last season and rushed for 743 yards and six touchdowns.

“This is a league decision, and we are disappointed in what it means for Ricky and the team,” Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. “I know I speak for all of his teammates and the entire Dolphin organization in supporting him in any way we can in his future endeavors.”

Williams missed the first four games of the 2005 season and was fined for the second and third violations of the substance abuse program. Those positive tests reportedly occurred in December 2003 and in the 2004 offseason.

Known for his interesting and complex nature off the field, Williams has rushed for 7,097 yards in six seasons since being picked fifth overall by the New Orleans Saints in 1999. The Saints traded eight picks to the Washington Redskins for the right to select the former Heisman Trophy winner.

In 1999, Williams’ professional career also started in odd fashion when his eight-year contract was negotiated by rapper Master P’s agency. The deal contained large incentives but low base salaries, including just $350,000 as a rookie.

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Updated Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006