NFL news of October 10, 2002

The old Ricky Williams used to run and hide from his personal demons.

Now he runs over NFL defenders.

Heading into Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins’ enigmatic star has rushed for 565 yards with four performances better than 100 yards in Miami’s 4-1 start.

The old Williams, engulfed by self-doubt, was so nervous around people he actually became sick to his stomach. At one point, his social anxiety grew so acute, it imprisoned him in his New Orleans home for two solid weeks.

Now he spends time on Miami’s glitzy South Beach where he can enjoy the surf, sand and night life.

The old Williams was considered aloof, strange and conceited by his New Orleans Saints teammates. Quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver called him “Ricky Weirdo.”

His new teammates have been more accepting of the introspective running back. When the Dolphins held a preseason party at the Universal Studios, Williams yukked it up and said he bonded more with his teammates that day than he ever did at New Orleans or the University of Texas.

As for the illness that once disrupted his life, Williams said it’s a thing of the past.

“I don’t have social anxiety disorder anymore,” Williams said Wednesday. “I’m not on medication anymore.”

— Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post “Williams comes out of shell RB blossoms on, off field”

Williams announced his retirement before the 2004 season, amid rumors of a third failed drug test. He returned in 2005, after serving a four game suspension, before being suspended for the entire 2006 season. He returned the Dolphins for 2007 – 2010 and played for the Ravens in 2011 before retiring at the end of the season.

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