LBS- Serving as a guest on “Any Given Wednesday,” Williams was asked by HBO’s Bill Simmons whether he would be in the Hall of Fame if not for weed.
“For sure. No doubt about it,” Williams said.
“I look at the amount of stress and things that distracted me from playing football surrounding cannabis,” Williams said. “Also the negative media coverage I got really tarnished my image.”
Williams, a Heisman Trophy winner at Texas, led the league in rushing with 1,853 yards in 2002. Despite his suspensions, he still played 11 NFL seasons, rushing for 10,009 yards and 66 touchdowns. He missed two full seasons during his prime.
I know, I know. My eyes rolled back in my head like I had just taken a pull from Ricky Williams' most potent "herbal medication" when I read it too. Then I realized something, I remember Ricky Williams exactly how the NFL wants me to remember Ricky Williams. I remember him as the fatally flawed player that smoked himself out the league, not the guy that amassed over 10,000 rushing yards. I remember him as a pothead that couldn't stay clean long enough to achieve his full potential, not the dude whose numbers should already (albeit barely) have him in Canton consideration despite lost seasons and repeated battles with the substance abuse policy. The fact is - barring injury - Ricky Williams is absolutely right. Not just because he already has more yards and touchdowns than a handful of guys in the 'Hall Of Fame', but because he achieved all of them without the help of his favorite thing in the world.
Imagine if your employer told you that all happy hours were canceled and that your BAC would be measured every Monday morning during football season. Imagine you were a cigarette smoker and you had to pass a smell test every time you came back from lunch to keep your job. Think you would give your company your all while they were contractually keeping you from the things that made you happy? No fucking way. Ricky Williams - as someone that suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety disorder - wasn't allowed to use his most reliable remedy or partake in his most relaxing vice and he's still statistically amongst the best running backs in NFL history. You'd have to assume that his stats pale in comparison to what they would look like if he didn't spend his entire playing career a miserable, paranoid fuck that just needed a post practice bong rip to put a smile on his face. They should give him an honorary gold jacket just for coming even remotely close when two years of his prime ironically went up in smoke.
P.S. Best magazine cover ever...