Williams returned to the NFL and the Miami Dolphins in 2005, repaid a portion of his signing bonus and completed his quadruple game suspension for the NFL drug violation. He completed the season with six touchdowns, and a 4.4 yards carry per average on 168 carries and 743 yards.
A year later the NFL made public that Williams again violated the organization’s drug policy and he was suspended for the entire 2006 season. Despite his troubles, Williams was recruited by Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. The Dolphins agreed to let Williams play for the team for a year on the condition that he would don the Dolphins uniform again in 2007.
While playing for the Argonauts, Williams became the highest-paid running back in the CFL with a $240,000 contract. In his June 2006 debut during a home game against the Tiger-Cats, he rushed for 97 yards on 18 carries, his longest one being 35 yards during the final quarter of the game. During the 11 games Williams played during the CFL regular season, he rushed 109 times for 526 yards, scored two touchdowns with a long run of 35 yards. For 127 yards he caught 19 passes.
In 2007 at the start of the CFL season, then commissioner Tom Wright instituted the “Ricky Williams Rule,” which would prevent a player that is currently suspended by the NFL from signing with a CFL team. The rule was grandfathered so that NFL players who were suspended for drug abuse and didn’t look to get reinstated when their suspension was up could keep playing.
Williams was reinstated into the NFL in October of 2007 and he played in a Monday Night Football game the end of November. He rushed six times, gaining 15 yards before Steelers Linebacker Lawrence Timmons stepped on his shoulder, tearing his pectoral muscle. It was soon reported that he would miss the rest of the season and was placed on injured reserve.
Williams was named as starter of the remainder of the 2009 season after a Dolphins teammate suffered an injury. He reached 1,000 yards rushing and set a record for the longest span between 1,000 yard seasons in six years. In 2010, Williams carried 159 times for 673 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Dolphins.
In August of 2011, Williams signed a 24-month $2.5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens. By January of 2012, he had surpassed the 10,000 career rushing yards mark making him the 26th player in the NFL to attain such a feat. A month later he informed the Ravens of his retirement from the NFL.
“I retired from football because I could. I don’t look for reasons to do things. I do them because they are fun,” Williams said. “The first time I retired from football I traveled abroad and when I came back to the states I didn’t think I’d return to football but I did come back.
“I understand that the NFL is a business and that football is a violent and physical game. It’s pretty obvious the players have to take care of themselves and try to eliminate some of the hits (that cause concussions) but the hits are why people are watching the game,” Williams continued. “One cool thing is to see where football is heading in the future.”
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