Williams ready to roll

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

Toronto Argonauts' running back Ricky Williams is here to blow out the B.C. Lions, not inhale "B.C. Bud."

Williams -- serving a one-year suspension for violating the National Football League's drug policy a fourth time -- makes his B.C. Place Stadium debut with the 1-1 "Boatmen" against the 1-1 B.C. Lions at 7:30 p.m. PDT tonight.

If he stays true to his word, Lions' lovers and pot peddlers alike will be bummed.

Argonauts sparked a controversy when they signed the 29-year-old from San Diego to play 2006 in the Canadian Football League, which has no drug policy.

"It's not like he came up here with some crazy felony charge against him," said Lions' linebacker Javier Glatt. "He's an amazing talent, but we've got to do our best to shut him and the rest of the offense down."

As an Argo, Williams has carried 26 times for 111 yards, hasn't fumbled, but also hasn't scored a touchdown. He insists his high times are over and won't let his first visit to Canada's cannabis capital set him back.

"It's not a temptation, it's only the mind," Williams said. "I'm over that part of my life."

The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Williams as an outfielder in 1995. Had he stuck with baseball, he could've been the African-American answer to Bill "Spaceman" Lee, the most notorious puffer in pro sports.

Instead he went to play football for the University of Texas and won 1998's Heisman Trophy. Born Errick Lynne Williams, he racked up 7,097 yards on 1,757 carries and 47 touchdowns in six National Football League seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins.

In 2004, he retired from the Dolphins to focus on smoking pot, backpacking through India and Australia and practicing yoga. He was lured back to the NFL because he owes the Dolphins millions of dollars for walking out and he has child-support obligations.

Because of his reputation, he's the Argonauts' lightning rod, constantly hearing fans' taunt him about the wacky tabacky. He said he doesn't let it affect his game.

"I don't take it personally. The funny thing about it is half the guys in the stands making jokes smoke themselves.

"They get to raz an NFL player now."


Photos