Why did Ricky Williams leave football in 2004?
Because Miami Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt wouldn't listen.
On this week's edition of "The Ricky Williams Show," which airs Monday nights on Miami sports radio station WQAM, the Dolphins running back shed some light on his controversial and bizarre 2004 decision to walk away from football and wander the world, eventually ending up in a tent in Australia.
Williams was weary and wary. He had banked a pair of seasons in which he led the NFL with 775 rushing attempts, and the Dolphins were facing uncertainty at offensive coordinator.
Norv Turner left Wannstedt's staff to be head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Wannstedt named running backs coach Joel Collier offensive coordinator, but Collier left the team a month later, citing exhaustion. The Dolphins then promoted Chris Foerster, an assistant with an offensive line background, to coordinator.
Williams started to feel exhausted.
He had a phone conversation with Wannstedt.
"I was talking to him more about the reasons I retired," Williams said. "He was trying to change my mind. So I talked to both him and [general manager] Rick Spielman.
"And the message I was trying to convey to him was that I didn't feel I was appreciated for the workload that he put on me, and that I didn't appreciate the way that he had handled the offense that last year, when Joel Collier was named the offensive coordinator, and then when Joel stepped down, he hired, you know, a guy who had never coached an offense before. I just explained to him I could foresee me getting the ball 30 to 35 times a game and my career being cut drastically short.
"He didn't really listen to anything I said. He just kept telling me basically that I was out of my mind and that I should come back. So the conversation ended that way."