The Rush: From Heisman to Highsman, Ricky Williams on Longhorns, cannabis, and Tom Brady

Former Heisman winner, all-pro NFL running back, and entrepreneur Ricky Williams joins the Rush to discuss: Bijan Robinson and the immediate future of Texas Longhorns football team, how different his life would’ve been if college athletes could profit off their NIL when he was a student, the impact of cannabis on his NFL career and when he knew Tom Brady was special. PLUS: Ricky has launched a cannabis lifestyle brand called Highsman, which you can check out here!

Video Transcript

JARED QUAY: What's your go-to meal for when you are high?

RICKY WILLIAMS: So this is a big thing that a lot of new smokers have to contend with. They say I like the way I feel but I get so hungry. So my advice-- and this is what I've done-- is I pack my kitchen with good stuff, but the highest quality stuff. And so my go-to is fruit. I make a smoothie.

JARED QUAY: What's up, everybody. I'm here with Heisman Trophy winner and former all-pro running back and entrepreneur Ricky Williams. How are you doing today Ricky?

RICKY WILLIAMS: Hey, what's going on?

JARED QUAY: So your Longhorns started the season strong and a lot of people were saying Texas is back. What does the program actually need to do to be back?

RICKY WILLIAMS: At this point, I think just keep getting better. I mean, that's kind of the answer across the board is the way to get to where you're going is through improvement. But on the specifics, obviously a school like Texas, they've got talent. And Sar can recruit. But it's about coming together as a team. And I think the most important thing is believing in yourself. And especially the O.U game. You know, the way they jumped up on the Sooners you can tell that they were surprised. And so part of winning especially when you're changing a culture is the expectation to win. And it's coming. It's coming. But what I love right now is they're making plays. And what I really love is the first time in a long time that Texas is committed to running the ball. So it's fun to watch Bejan do his thing because I think he's one of the best right now in the country.

- True story.

JARED QUAY: One of the new rules I think is kind of cool as they're letting student athletes earn income off their name, image, and likeness. And I know you are a pretty much one of the biggest names in college football. How do you feel like your career would have been different if you could have profited from your name?

RICKY WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think I would have made it 12 years in the NFL. I think it's wonderful because I'm a big proponent of utilizing what you learn through sports to be successful in other areas of life. Because even if you're Tom Brady, there's half of your life you have to live beyond sports. And so I think the fact that these guys are able to make money while they're getting an education, it allows more avenues than just going down the professional sports lane.

I'm torn because I'm all for young men making money, but I'm just afraid that the potential value of a college education-- and I don't mean a degree. I mean the access to the minds that you have on a college campus and to meeting people and setting yourself up for the future. You know, I'm just worried that the value of that experience might be lost.

My idea would be allow the players to make money, but, you know, tie it to having to finish some level of schooling. Because the opportunity is really supposed to be about education. I don't want to send that message that going to college is only about football. It should be about learning.

- I couldn't have said it better myself.

JARED QUAY: When you were in the NFL, you played against Tom Brady. Did you know when you were playing against Tom at such a young point in his career that he was going to be one of the GOATs?

RICKY WILLIAMS: We played him my last year in New Orleans. It was when Drew Bledsoe went down and Tom started to play. And just for me being inside of the whole football environment, you can tell. You can feel when there's something unique and there's something special. I don't know if I would have said he was the GOAT, but you could tell what they were building up in New England was something special. But in this game with injuries and free agency, it's hard to build a dynasty and it's hard to stay healthy, and I think those are the intangibles that I think is really a key to his success.

JARED QUAY: You recently launched a cannabis lifestyle brand called Highsman, which I think is probably the coolest name of anything. Can you tell me a little bit more about that and how it got started?

RICKY WILLIAMS: It's a beautiful story because at one point in my career the thing that I was most ashamed of, that I thought my life would be over if the public found out that I smoked. OK? And it happened. And then when it happened, I realized, OK. I'm still alive. My life hasn't ended. And that was back in 2004 when I walked away from the NFL, and, you know, the story that the media was telling that I was the biggest pothead or the biggest underachiever, that I was throwing my life away. And I thought about it, and I said, you know, actually, that's not my story. And so I left the NFL and I just started traveling and really looking for myself. And part of what I found was a passion not only for cannabis but for plant medicine and for healing. You know?

Beating myself up for all those years and having some time off and realizing that I need to do something to take care of myself. I just became fascinated with it, and I've really come to understand how to take care of myself. Not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. In the beginning when I started playing football, I just wanted to be happy, you know? And I think the messages that were sent from culture is happiness is found in relationships and money and all that stuff. And the truth is it's not. I think happiness is finding who you are and what you're here to do, and then doing it.

So we're on a line right now. That's H-I-G-H-S-M-A-N. When I tell people, it's not about a trophy, it's about being high.

JARED QUAY: I love it. Well, look, Ricky. I appreciate you rushing with me today. Best of luck with you, man.

RICKY WILLIAMS: Yeah, thank you.