Leigh Steinberg, Williams's agent, said Saturday his client hasn't yet received permission from the Miami Dolphins to play in the CFL this season. However, Steinberg fully expects the Dolphins to give the former Heisman Trophy winner their blessing to suit up for the Argos in 2006.
"Although I am loathe to say that because it could put some pressure on the Dolphins, I would be incredibly surprised and disappointed if it didn't happen," Steinberg said when asked whether Williams's joining the Argos was a certainty. "I assume it will happen but I'm being very careful to be very delicate here.
"I have a terrific relationship with the Dolphins and (Miami head coach) Nick Saban has been terrific in his support of Ricky."
Williams and Steinberg have been in Toronto for the past four days - Williams arrived on his own three days earlier - and have met with Argos ownership and president Keith Pelley. However, the two sides have gone as far as they can until the Dolphins give their blessing - Williams is still under contract with Miami for the next two seasons.
The Dolphins' approval could take a few more days because of Monday's Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Once the Dolphins grant their permission, Steinberg said it won't take long for Williams to sign with Toronto.
"Negotiating a one-year contract in the CFL is not heavy lifting," he said. "If we can get this release, I would imagine it would take one hour to put this deal together."
Williams won't come cheaply, though. He will reportedly earn around $250,000 with Toronto, which would easily make him the highest-paid running back in the league.
Once Williams completes his NFL suspension, he can apply for reinstatement. If successful, he would be clear to return to the Dolphins for the 2007 season.
"Nick Saban wants to make it crystal clear that Ricky returns there after this year," Steinberg said. "Miami wants it absolutely air tight that they won't lose this player."
"The substance Ricky recently tested positive for was not marijuana and Ricky has not done marijuana for the last year and a half," Steinberg said. "The Ricky Williams who was using marijuana is not the same Ricky Williams today.
"He is actually a positive role model today. This is not a case where you have a druggie fleeing from another league. What we want to do is make productive use of the time he has available."
"If they (Argos) give Ricky enough carries he will be fun to watch," Steinberg said. "In the fourth quarter of games he just explodes because his M.O. is he just wears and grinds defensive players down.
"It could be exciting to see him run on the wider field."