Cards: Score 2009, Upper Deck 2006, SP 1999, Adrenalyn 2009, Playoff Contenders 2001, Power Deck 2006.
Acquired: 2/6/13, IP Legends Luncheon, 11/17/13 – GMC Texas Tour.
See Also: Ricky Williams, Ricky Williams (2)
Just when I thought I was going to write a post about how I’m running out of things to say about Ricky, he has a luncheon where he agrees to do an honest question and answer session with all the fans in the lunchroom audience. He discussed his foundation work (Ricky Williams Foundation), and a wide range of topics covering his life growing up as a latchkey kid. Ricky was very forthcoming about his travels, and that he had actually contemplated retirement as early as his second year in the NFL. Ultimately Williams made the decision in his last season in Baltimore to retire, after a brief conversation with Bill Parcells.
Ricky enjoyed playing the game because it was a game to him. It was fun. He talked about the growing problem of players confusing sportsmanship with competitiveness. Williams also talked about how he was even keel when the team won or when the team lost. He really just didn’t let it get to him, and this made him sometimes
appear weird to his teammates.
When I got up to him he signed all three of my cards. At this point, he recognizes me when I come up, and I gave him his Starting Lineup figure as a humorous gift- which I think he got a kick out of. I asked him jokingly if he had ever used the deer antler spray, and he very candidly told me his answer… He clarified that the greater issue is that at some point we are talking about substances that people put in their body, much of it naturally that is already used or ingested in other cultures. He really didn’t tell me firmly if it worked, however Ricky pointed out the greatest problem that the NFL faces in drug testing is the use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), and that the problem is rampant, since the league’s testing isn’t able to completely sniff it out.
Ricky lives in Austin and I pretty much stop whatever I am doing to go to his events. I heard about this event on 1300 The Zone (The Longhorn Station), about a week before and decided to take a crack at the event. I had previously met Ricky on two other occasions, and he had signed a total of 4 cards between the events for me. Still there seems to be a never ending supply of cards or items I’d love to get the former Heisman winner to sign for my collection including these gems. I very much enjoy his refreshing, incredibly intelligent, and unique view on the world and always look forward to the events he speaks at. If there was ever a player that I’d refer to as a shaman, I’d pretty much put Ricky in that category.
In November, Ricky once again appeared, this time at the GMC Texas Tour. I stocked up on autograph vouchers and then camped out in line. After asserting my spot as the first person in line over poachers who hovered near the gate or put their gear down and walked off, I waited patiently for Ricky to arrive. Williams had signed to work with Coach Larry Kennan at Incarnate Word out of San Antonio as a runningback coach, and he came in wearing their colors. As the only fan that recognized him, Ricky thought he was going to get away with his stunt, but I caught him when he walked by. When they finally opened up the queue for autographs we were limited to just one per person, so I walked up and got my autograph and just talked to Ricky about his experience at IW. It was a rough start when I asked him to sign with the bronze colored marker, but because his face frowned, I immediately backpedaled and said that I’d be happy with whatever marker he’d like. His face lit up then when we talked about the WLAF and Kennan’s days with the Monarchs, but before you knew it, a handler came over and shooed me off. I then told Ricky I’d return and when I got to the front of the line, he’d know he had gone through the whole line at least once. I waited patiently and returned to the front. The pretty line keeper (who comped me a Roy Williams autographed photo) helped me pass the time for a few minutes, and before I knew it, I was back at the table talking to Ricky. He enjoyed talking to me so much, he volunteered and literally grabbed my cards and signed all the extras I had with me before I left the table. He told me about Kennan’s coaching style and we joked about what the “Hook ‘Em” sign would be for Incarnate Word.
Again, like Priest Holmes, I created a custom card for Ricky based on the ‘Long Tom’ design of the GameDay cards more recently of the 90s. I was really happy with the results, but continue to struggle with the paper thickness as 20lb is not a universal weight. Still the ink absorbed well into the card and it does look legitimate enough that he did take pause to look impressively at it.
At the time of Ricky’s retirement he was the 26th member of the 10,000 yard club. While occasional rumblings talk about inducting him into the Pro Football HoF, his legacy will need to be redefined elsewhere, as old timers will look at Ricky’s rampant disregard of NFL policies as blemishes on his career. Also with guys like Ottis Anderson (slightly more yards and an MVP honor) still waiting in line, Williams getting in would be seen as a major coup. In the meantime Ricky is finding a new life in football coaching runningbacks for Incarnate Word and dabbling in recruiting.