Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams will retire after 11 NFL seasons, according to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Williams, 34, is walking away with a year left on the two-year, $4 million deal he signed last off-season. The news comes just two weeks after Williams said that he planned to return to the Ravens for the 2012 season.
“I have to thank coach [John] Harbaugh and the Ravens organization for the opportunity they gave me this year. I had so much fun and really appreciated the chance to finish on such a great note,” Williams said in a statement, via BaltimoreRavens.com.
Before arriving in Baltimore, Williams charted a career path that was unconventional to say the least. He topped the 1,000 rushing yard mark in four of his first five seasons but problems with the league’s substance abuse policy forced him to prematurely retire in 2004 at the age of 27.
After sitting out that year, he returned to play one year in Canada and six more years in the NFL. Williams became just the 26th player in NFL history to top the 10,000 career-rushing yards mark. He finishes his career with 10,009 rushing yards and 66 touchdowns on 2,431 carries.
The Ravens signed Williams to be the backup to Ray Rice, and he did his job as well as the organization could have asked and hoped for, carrying 108 times for 444 yards and two touchdowns.
“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life,” Williams said. “I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly fun. I want to thank all my fans, teammates, coaches and supporters for the strength they’ve given me to overcome so much.”