Still up in the air

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Apparently if Ricky Williams really wants to play in the Canadian Football League, he merely has to say that to Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins coach will allow him -- sort of.

The Dolphins running back has huddled twice with Saban, but the coach said yesterday Williams hasn't broached the subject of playing in the CFL.

"I only go on what he said to me," Saban said at the Dolphins' rookie mini-camp. "He never really said that to me. My thing is we want Ricky back on our team. Ricky doesn't need to go to Canada to prove anything to us. He doesn't need to do any of that stuff. I think if he really wanted to do it, it's something I'd certainly consider discussing with him and give him the opportunity to do it if it's something that he needed to do or really wanted to do."

Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, has said the player is "interested and intrigued" about playing in the CFL, specifically for the Argos, who put the enigmatic running back on their negotiation list 10 days ago when he lost an appeal to overturn a one-year suspension from the National Football League for violating the substance abuse policy a fourth time.

Steinberg continues to talk daily with the Argos football management, while the team's ownership has expressed a desire to sign the player. But nothing can happen until Saban, who has absolute autonomy of the Dolphins football operations, gives his blessing.

"We're still at the same point," said Argos assistant general manager Greg Mohns, who remains hopeful a deal can come to fruition.

Williams is in California, where Steinberg resides, and was scheduled to talk to Saban last night. Saban said if the Dolphins wanted to trade Williams, they would advise him to play in Canada to increase his value.

"It would probably be a good thing for us to say, 'Go up there and gain 2,000 yards and we'll get rid of you,' " he said. "But that's not our philosophy on it; that's not how we feel about it and that's not what we want to do. We're going to be fair to the player in terms of giving him an opportunity to do the things during this time that he thinks he need to do to be successful in his career. I'm not going to do deny him that, but I've also got feelings about what we want to accomplish in this organization."

Saban has told Steinberg he has concerns about Williams suffering an injury playing in the CFL.

TICATS SIGN PAIR

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats bolstered their defence, signing former Detroit Lions defensive back Rod Babers and ex-Oakland Raiders linebacker Bobby Brooks to one-year deals.


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