One-time Argo Joe Theismann took some pot shots at Ricky Williams yesterday, but the new Argos running back simply took the high road.
Theismann, an ESPN analyst who started his professional career as a quarterback with the Argos, blasted the team and Williams in interviews on the Fan 590 AM and ESPN, saying the suspended Miami Dolphin is a "disgrace to the game" and adding he is "embarrassed now to be a Toronto Argonaut."
Williams, when told of the comments after his second practice with the Argos yesterday, said it is not the first time Theismann has ripped him.
"We've had a history in the past," said Williams, who has violated the NFL's substance abuse policy four times and is suspended for the 2006 NFL season. "He has said things negatively about me in the past, just about whatever he could. I've met him a couple of times and every time he says something, here's what happens: He says a remark about me that's offensive and when he has to do one of our games, he comes and apologizes and says, 'I'm sorry.' I'm sure next year when he's doing a game, he'll come up to me and he'll say, 'I'm sorry.' It will be the same thing."
Theismann also had harsh words for the Argos front office.
"This is a feeble excuse for the Toronto Argonauts to sell tickets," he told The Fan.
Williams took it in stride.
"I don't hold any hard feelings against him," he said. "I understand it's his job to say things so he has to say things. The thing about people, you know, if you meet a positive person they'll never have anything negative to say. If you meet a negative person, usually all they really have to say is negative things."
Argos coach Pinball Clemons defended the organization.
"Someone much smarter than I, a former president (Roosevelt), suggested it's not the critic that counts," Clemons said. "It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or how to do their deeds, (how they) could have done them better. The man who counts is the man who is in the arena. Right now, we are in the arena and I think we are doing a great job."
With a security guard close by, Williams continued to be the most popular man at camp yesterday, signing countless autographs and taking pictures with children from schools.
"It's refreshing," Williams said. "It's great to have the community a part of this team. A lot of the time in the NFL, there is so much attention on football and winning that you forget you represent a town, a city and a community."
Williams will make his CFL debut Friday in the pre-season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the Rogers Centre.