"Ricky has worked diligently to get himself ready to return as soon as possible," said one source close to Williams. "Nothing is ever set in stone with him, but I think it's pretty safe to assume he'll be back."
Or at least attempt to return. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to face a tough decision over whether to allow Williams to return this season. Williams, having served a one-year suspension in 2006 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, tested positive for marijuana in April and is not allowed to reapply for reinstatement until next month.
Williams has missed two of the past three seasons because of problems with marijuana. He retired abruptly before the 2004 season after failing two tests that offseason. He returned to the Dolphins in 2005 after missing the first four games and had a productive season as a backup to then-rookie running back Ronnie Brown.
While serving the NFL suspension last year, Williams played in Canada, helping the Toronto Argonauts reach the playoffs. He was originally going to apply for reinstatement in April before the latest failed test.
Among the issues driving the 30-year-old Williams to return to the NFL, according to sources, are child support payments he owes and a court judgment in which he still owes the Dolphins repayment of bonus money he earned under his contract. That included performance bonuses paid in 2002, when he led the NFL with 1,853 yards rushing.