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The bizarre story of Ricky Williams’ NFL career has a bizarre new chapter about Williams’ desire to change his name and sign with the Oakland Raiders in 2004.
Those who watched the NFL during Ricky Williams’ 12-year career know that the running back was electric, both on and off the field. And now, thanks to an interview with Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated, we know more about Williams’ 2004 “retirement” from the NFL, which was the result of a positive drug test and subsequent four-game suspension.
Williams, who was serving a suspension at the time, was apparently intent on changing his name to “Rio Don,” changing his jersey number from 34 to 21 and signing with the Oakland Raiders in. Williams, who was a Miami Dolphins player at the time, had planned to join the Raiders in the middle of the season.
“Luckily, that idea didn’t stick,” Williams told Bishop.
Williams would eventually end up re-signing with Miami in 2005, before another positive drug test led the NFL to suspend Williams for the entire 2006 season. He played in Miami until 2010, when he signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens before retiring.
Currently, Williams is co-founding “Power Plant Fitness and Wellness,” a cannabis gym where members can smoke or ingest edibles, work out, get massages, etc. Williams has always been one of the biggest advocates for the use of medical marijuana in the NFL, and told Sports Illustrated he estimates “between 60% and 70% of current players use marijuana,” either medically or recreationally, and that “even coaches” partake at times.