Associated Press DAVIE, Fla. (AP) _ Ricky Williams' reinstatement is complete, with the Miami Dolphins saying they'll welcome him back on the field beginning Monday.
First-year coach Cam Cameron decided to let Williams rejoin the team after they met Thursday. The NFL lifted Williams' 11/2-year suspension Wednesday.
”The meeting was positive,” Cameron said. ”He'll be a member of this team and will start with us Monday. He's a Miami Dolphin.”
For months, Cameron had been mum regarding whether he would want Williams. In May, when discussing Williams' latest relapse, the coach said it's difficult to salvage the careers of troubled players.
Cameron said his players supported the decision to welcome the 2002 NFL rushing leader _ perhaps in large part because the Dolphins are desperate for help. They're 0-9 heading into Sunday's game at Philadelphia.
”Circumstances have changed,” Cameron said. ”However, you still rely on the leadership of your locker room and quality professionals like we have, and you get their input, and that was the major part of the decision.”
Williams could play as soon as the game at Pittsburgh on Monday, Nov. 26.
Williams, 30, was suspended in April 2006 after violating the league drug policy for the fourth time. His return was delayed when he tested positive again for marijuana last spring.
After meeting with Cameron, Williams watched the start of practice from behind a window in the players' lounge as he ate an apple. Later, during a brief news conference, he struggled to answer the first question.
”My motivation for coming back to the NFL? Could we start with an easier question?” he said with a chuckle.
”My motivation is to get my life going again. Being out of football in the situation I was in makes it difficult, you know? I want to create a better life for myself and for my family, and being a football player, for me, is a big part of that.”
Williams has played in only 12 games since the summer of 2004, when his sudden retirement helped sabotage the Dolphins' season. They haven't been to the playoffs since acquiring him in a trade with New Orleans in 2002.
As part of the NFL drug program, Williams underwent therapy for the past 51/2 months in Boston and benefited from the treatment, said his agent, Leigh Steinberg.
”This is the program working exactly as it should _ treating a player for an underlying life problem in a positive and sophisticated way, and returning him to health,” Steinberg said. ”The Dolphins, or whatever team, is getting a highly motivated player with a new lease on life.”