Fri, Nov 16, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Ricky Williams reinstated, but future uncertain

BONG-FREE Williams is free to play after serving his drug suspension, but it is uncertain whether the Miami Dolphins are still interested in his services

AP , DAVIE, FLORIDA

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, breaks away from the Indianapolis Colts' Dwight Freeney during the second half of their NFL football game in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Nov. 4.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Ricky Williams' suspension ended after more than 18 months when he was reinstated by the NFL on Wednesday. Still unclear is whether the Miami Dolphins want him back.

The 2002 league rushing champion was suspended last year after violating the league's drug policy for the fourth time and tested positive again for marijuana in April, delaying his return through the first half of this season. He's still contracted to the Dolphins.

Williams, who has played in only 12 games since the start of the 2004 season, was scheduled to fly to Miami for a physical yesterday and meet with coach Cam Cameron, said Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg.

Cameron, still seeking his first win as a NFL head coach, said he talked with Williams by phone for "five or six minutes" on Wednesday, but hadn't made a decision about activating him.

"I want to see where he is, and also let him know where we're headed, and we'll go from there," Cameron said.

Linebacker Joey Porter, for one, said he would love to have Williams as a teammate "just because we're 0-9."

"I don't care who you got ... if you could run the ball like Ricky did," Porter said. "I mean, right now I'd do anything for a victory."

Steinberg said the Dolphins had been noncommittal with him previously, but following the reinstatement announcement, he was encouraged by the warm interest from Matt Thomas, the team's general counsel for football administration.

The trading deadline has passed, leaving the Dolphins with limited options. They could cut Williams, or keep him but not play him and hope to work out a trade in the offseason. Another alternative: Work him into an offense that has scored one touchdown in each of the past two games.

The league said Williams is eligible to attend team meetings and practice immediately, but will not be able to play in a game until Miami plays at Pittsburgh on Nov. 26.

Indianapolis Colts star defensive end Dwight Freeney will miss the rest of the NFL season after being placed on injured reserve with a foot injury on Wednesday.

Freeney, the three-time Pro Bowler, is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. He injured his left foot in Sunday's 23-21 loss to San Diego and was scheduled to undergo surgery later this week or early next week.

The blow is potentially devastating to Indianapolis, which has already been depleted by injuries. Seven starters missed Sunday's game, and Indianapolis lost four more starters, including Freeney, during the game.

"Dwight is a player you cannot replace," former Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders said. "But we'll continue to move on, continue to get better. We'll put new guys in and continue to roll. That's what Dwight would want us to do."

The Colts (7-2) don't have a choice.

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