‘Ricky Williams: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, October 31 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network
“I decide what it’s like for me, not other people. You can be whatever you’d like to be. You just have to choose it.” – Ricky Williams
The image of who Ricky Williams is varies for different people and places.
For the state of Texas and fans of the University of Texas, the image is of a Heisman Trophy-winning running back who displayed legendary feats on the football field. For the city of New Orleans and Saints fans, the image is of someone who was supposed to be an icon and example of what a professional football player should be. For many football fans, the image is of someone who cared more about off the field pursuits than football, and a great player who didn’t live up to his potential.
NFL Network’s series A Football Life continues Friday, October 31 at 9:00 PM ET with a profile of Williams. In the one-hour, NFL Films-produced documentary, Williams provides an all-encompassing image of who he truly is in his own words, told through five new interviews with Williams and five archived interviews from NFL Films’ library. NFL Films followed Williams to Sweden, Amsterdam and across Texas for the documentary. Additionally, Ricky Williams: A Football Life features former University of Texas All-American linebacker Emmanuel Acho performing with the Keystone State Boychoir, as well as never-before-seen sound from Mike Ditka in New Orleans.
Ricky Williams: A Football Life marks the first time in which only the subject was interviewed for the documentary.
Among the topics Williams discusses in the show are:
- The trade that Mike Ditka and the New Orleans Saints made to move up to draft him with the fifth overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft
- The contract he signed as a rookie with the New Orleans Saints
- Winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Texas and his relationship with Doak Walker
- His career with the Miami Dolphins and the reason why he retired one week before training camp in 2004
- A series of text message exchanges with Bill Parcells following the 2011 season with the Baltimore Ravens
- His experience in coaching and other off the field pursuits
- His email address at the University of Texas
Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.
Provided below are some select quotes from Ricky Williams: A Football Life:
– “Depending on their fondest memory of you, most people hold on so tightly to their fondest memory they don’t usually let you be anything greater than that. And that’s one of the things I think I allowed myself to be a victim of earlier in my career. What I learned as I got older is I decide. I decide what it’s like for me, not other people. You can be whatever you’d like to be. You just have to choose it.” – Ricky Williams
– “It used to be irritating just because someone can meet you and before they would get a chance to get to know you, they’ll go find someone else’s story about who I am. For me personally, I just always think it’s more interesting to get to know the person myself.” – Ricky Williams
– “It was really my coming out party; ran for over 160 yards and it really set the tempo for the rest of my career and my initiation to being an unofficial Texan.” – Ricky Williams on the game against Texas A&M his freshman year
– “After I won the Heisman Trophy, it just was OK, I’m supposed to go to the NFL and so that’s what I did. I didn’t really have any expectations and I didn’t really understand how things worked.” – Ricky Williams
– “One of the worst days in my life. I thought I deserved to be the first pick, especially after the kind of career I had. And then as the draft started to go on, I wasn’t even the first running back. But actually, the trade made it better. It’s a cool story. I mean, people are still talking about the trade.” – Ricky Williams on the 1999 NFL Draft
– “The contract that he negotiated for me would have made me the highest paid rookie in the history of the NFL. I said no to that. I said, ‘Give me all that you can get me right now, let me earn the rest.’ I’d always hear fans say that athletes were overpaid and all they care about is the money. So I saw a perfect opportunity to show people that not all athletes are like that.” – Ricky Williams on his rookie contract with the New Orleans Saints
– “I can look back at it now as definitely like an initiation into adulthood. Almost overnight in the NFL, I was put on a pedestal and I was supposed to be this icon or this image of what a professional athlete was supposed to be. I felt like I just got stuck trying to be someone else and I forgot who I actually was.” – Ricky Williams on his time with the New Orleans Saints
– “I led the NFL in attempts the past two years and they really didn’t go out and get a quarterback to help me so I knew it’s going to be all on me again. I could see my mortality as a football player, that I’m not going to be able to do this much longer. It just became obvious to me that playing football for me is not going to be fun, not something I’m going to enjoy and it’s time for me to do something different.” – Ricky Williams on his time with the Miami Dolphins
– “Everywhere I go, people hear Ricky Williams and the next thing they think is marijuana or wasted talent.” – Ricky Williams
Following the premiere of Ricky Williams: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now, the League’s next-generation video service. Providing fans access to the largest digital library of NFL video anywhere, NFL Now dynamically personalizes each fan’s viewing experience, allowing them to follow their favorite NFL teams and players. Visit NFL.com/now for more information.
Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network. Below is the broadcast schedule for the November episodes:
- November 7 – Earl Campbell
- November 14 – Csonka, Kiick & Morris
- November 21 – Lyle Alzado
- November 28 – Dick Butkus & Gale Sayers
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