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Ricky Williams      

Former NFL Running Back, Heisman Trophy Winner & Mental Health Advocate

Ricky Williams is a former American football running back who played 11 seasons in the National Football League and one season in the Canadian Football League. He played college football for the University of Texas, where he was a two-time All-American and won the Heisman Trophy.

He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints fifth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and spent three seasons with the team before he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002. He played for the Dolphins for three seasons, and retired for the first time from football in 2004. Due to his suspension from the NFL in 2006, he played for the Toronto Argonauts in 2006. He re-joined the Dolphins in 2007 and played with them until 2010, and spent the 2011 season with the Baltimore Ravens. He is now an assistant football coach at the University of Incarnate Word.

Williams has admitted being very shy and was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, avoidance disorder and borderline personality disorder, with which he struggled to cope during his football career. Williams was treated with therapy and medication. Williams was briefly a spokesperson for the drug Paxil as treatment. He worked with the drug company GlaxoSmithKline to educate the public about the disorder.

Williams said that his marijuana use was a type of "psychotherapy" for his condition. Williams admitted in a "60 Minutes" interview that one of the reasons for his retirement was to avoid the humiliation of his marijuana use being made public with his third failed drug test. After his retirement, he went to California to get a prescription for medical marijuana.

Williams is a qualified yoga instructor.

The son of a minister, Williams was raised Southern Baptist and attended church twice a week during his childhood. He still self-identifies as a Christian, but his yoga study opened his mind to other religions, and his exact views on religion are difficult to label. He believes religions are cultural, and his beliefs are inclusive of at least some Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu philosophies. Williams is vegan or at least has a meat-free diet. Tim Graham has reported that Greek yogurt is the only non-vegan food in Williams' diet. PETA has used video of him praising meatless alternatives to popular chicken dishes.


The NFL’s Most Notorious Underachiever Wants A Doctorate In Psychology
There’s a statue venerating Ricky Williams outside the University of Texas football stadium. Sixteen years and one tumultuous pro career later, he’s back on campus – with a very different purpose.
Ricky Williams: I Left The NFL To Change My Definition Of Success
When Ricky Williams realized the traditional definition of success wasn't working for him, he took action.
Ricky Williams says weed was like his Popeye spinach | For The Win
In an interview with Campus Insiders, Ricky Williams, the former NFL running back who's never been shy about discussing his love of the occasional toke, was  ...
Nick Saban thinks Ricky Williams will be a good coach ...
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is highly regarded in the coaching world, especially at the college football level. When Saban speaks, the world listens or ...
Ricky Williams begins career as college coach
On his first day as a college assistant coach, Ricky Williams was already thinking bigger. He was introduced Thursday as running backs coach at the University ...

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