Extra-year option stalls Ricky deal
By Greg A. Bedard
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Ricky Williams' possible run to the Canadian Football League remained on hold Monday — and it could stay that way at least until the end of the week.
The Dolphins and Toronto Argonauts, sources said, are discussing a key factor in allowing the suspended running back to play in Canada — assurance for the Dolphins that Williams will return to Miami after one season in Toronto.
CFL contracts include a club option year, meaning that if Williams becomes a big draw for the Argonauts, they might try to enforce that option year.
Williams, who is suspended for the 2006 NFL season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, has told his agent he would return to the Dolphins. But Toronto officials have given the Dolphins only verbal assurances that they would not impede his return to the NFL when the CFL season ends in November, sources said.
The tricky part for the Dolphins concerns the NFL's reinstatement policy. Williams must petition for his return with no guarantees. He will be allowed to petition for reinstatement "no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter suspending him," according to the league's drug policy.
Williams, sources said, was notified about his suspension near the end of December. The CFL gives all of its players a chance to sign with NFL teams from Jan. 1-Feb. 15, so if Williams still is awaiting word about his reinstatement during that time frame, the Argonauts could exercise their option.
The Argonauts opened training camp Sunday. Williams has told the Dolphins he would like to play in Toronto for a season to help alleviate his financial problems. The Dolphins have agreed, but they are concerned about injury and his return to the NFL and they might be hoping that by dragging out negotiations, the Argonauts will end their pursuit, sources said.
Even if the Dolphins are satisfied with a contract, Argonauts owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon reportedly want to meet with Williams before he signs. The Argonauts participate in an anti-drug campaign in Toronto and the owners reportedly want Williams to be a part of that program.
Is Williams really going to give up drugs to play for the argos...? :roll: And it appears that the dolphins are delaying in every way possible to prevent williams from playing in the cfl.