The Miami Dolphins are thinking about the possibility of allowing Ricky Williams to play for the Argos this year while he serves a one-year National Football League suspension for substance abuse.
Leigh Steinberg, the agent for the star running back, talked to a senior member of the Dolphins' management Thursday about letting Williams come to Toronto, which has his Canadian Football League rights. Williams and Miami head coach Nick Saban were scheduled to talk last night.
The Dolphins can decide to let Williams sit out the season and protect their investment or allow him to come to the CFL and play. The risk would be the possibility of injury.
"Everyone is waiting to see what the prospective of Coach Saban is," Steinberg said yesterday. "Obviously the advantage of playing in Canada would be the opportunity to continue playing, stay in shape and be involved in competitive football. I described Toronto to Ricky in positive terms. My brother went to graduate school there and my own experiences are very positive.
"It's a wonderful city. It's a perfect place to spend a year in terms of culture. The Dolphins will have to feel it's in the interest of their team and Ricky to (play in the CFL)."
Because of the NFL draft, which begins today, the Dolphins' organization hasn't been able to fully devote time to making a decision on Williams. Earlier this week he lost an appeal to rescind the suspension caused by his fourth violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy program. The Argos quickly put him on their negotiation list, which presented the Dolphins and the player with an opportunity to continue playing during his suspension.
A suspended NFL player to play in the CFL as long as his team approves. A CFL football operations spokesperson contacted the NFL yesterday for added assurance on the matter.
"I get the sense the ball is in (Miami's) court," the spokesperson said. "Time will tell how this situation plays out."
AROUND THE HUDDLE
Raymond Fontaine, a University of Kentucky linebacker the Argos selected 11th overall in the Canadian draft last year, is hoping to be a late-round pick in the NFL draft signed to a free-agent contract. One draft report had him rated 72nd overall for outside linebackers, which means his chances are slim.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Toronto if the dream of being an NFL athlete doesn't materialize," he said.