This is a once-in-a-lifetime shot

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

The Miami Dolphins willing, Ricky Williams could be the best thing to hit the Canadian Football League since Doug Flutie.

The concept is entirely in the hands of the Dolphins. A couple of weeks ago, they were enthusiastic supporters of the financially-challenged running back earning a few bucks in Canada while serving his year-long NFL suspension. Now, for some reason, not so much.

It's believed the Argonauts and Williams, through his agent, Leigh Steinberg, already have an agreement in place. All that remains is for the Dolphins to grant permission.

Had he not been caught in the NFL's drug net, Williams was to be paid $585,000 US to play for the Dolphins this season. He'll play in Toronto for less than half that much, but he needs the cash.

The concern on the part of the Dolphins revolves around the CFL rule that adds an option year to every player's contract. Miami is concerned that by signing in Toronto, it might jeopardize its hold on the running back for next season.

Speaking with MSNBC, Steinberg dismissed that possibility earlier this week.

"If they don't think I can negotiate a contract that can get Ricky out of the CFL after one season .... I mean, I've been doing this for 30 years and have come up with some of the most progressive contract innovations in the history of the league," Steinberg said.

What would seem more a logical Miami concern is the threat of injury and that's a very real possibility for a running back in any brand of professional football. In that case, the Dolphins could be made to look rather foolish.

There also seems to be a minor moral backlash to the potential of Williams in Argo double-blue, based on the fact of his suspension for marijuana use. On that score, be aware he's not a criminal on the lam. Williams has never been charged with a crime. By most accounts, Williams is a delightful person to be around and has always been popular with his teammates. His only crime was against the NFL rules.

And, let's get real, people. Not very long ago, our government came within a few votes of decriminalizing marijuana.

As part of the NFL drug policy, Williams is being tested as many as 10 times a month, it has been reported. If he gets caught, he risks an additional suspension and forfeits even more potential salary. Do you not think that's enough of a deterrent to keep him weed-free during his time in Canada?

And here's the kicker. If there is a football coach on this planet who I would trust with the care and feeding of a free spirit like Williams, it is Michael Clemons.

If you can get past the reason for his being here, imagine the possibilities. Less than four years ago, Williams was the NFL's rushing champ. Since then, because of his "retirement" and subsequent suspensions, he has had little wear and tear on his body. There is every reason to believe that he still is one of the best running backs in the world.

How important do you think that might be to the ticket-buying public? Seriously, it could mean an additional 10,000 tickets a game at the Rogers Centre. And do you not think Williams would be a huge road draw?

Who knows? Williams just turned 29 last Sunday, so he's hardly over the hill. Maybe he doesn't have the same skills, the same desire, the same competitive spirit that made him one of the best backs in the game. But won't it be kind of intriguing to see if Pinball can coax it out of him?

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the Argos and for the CFL. Of course, we've had dozens of NFL stars, past and future pass through this league.

But seldom has a bona fide star in his prime decided to, or needed to, pass this way. The plan is in place. Now it's solely up to the Dolphins, who should just take a page from the Ricky Williams book: Don't worry, be happy.


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