Ricky Williams a good idea gone bad

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

What seemed like such a good idea at the time -- the one-year Ricky Williams experiment -- is turning out to be an expensive disaster for the Argonauts.

Wins are down. Attendance is down. Whatever early fascination there was seems lost. And attempting to over-involve Williams in the Argos offence only has bogged down a team that was beaten again yesterday, 24-17, by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of all people.

It isn't necessarily Williams fault, but on a wide field and playing a different game, the Bombers' Charles Roberts looks the part of a Pro Bowl running back while Williams can't even seem to pull off what Canadian Jeff Johnson managed a year ago.

Yesterday, Williams' numbers were dismal. Nine carries for six yards running behind a rather inept offensive line. One run mattered. One play excited people. And that was it. (Johnson had 12 yards on two carries).

If the reason to come out and watch the Argos was Ricky Williams, it now is not much of a reason. Quickly, the Argos' season is going up in smoke, and after four games and just one win, that's just a bad one-liner.

THIS AND THAT

Ed Belfour finds out tomorrow whether the Detroit Red Wings will sign him. Happy to get away from the Maple Leafs, Belfour is intrigued by the possibility of playing goal behind a defence that heavily relies on Nicklas Lidstrom, Mathieu Schneider and Chris Chelios ... Confirm or deny: Some Leafs players quietly have lobbied against the acquisition of Gary Roberts. Turns out they don't want to lose playing time or power-play time to an old man ... Pat Quinn, who has been all but silent since being let go, is telling some people he didn't mind being fired by the Leafs, but he didn't want to be fired by "that little twerp" ... Can't understand the grief the Raptors are taking for trading Charlie Villanueva for point guard T.J. Ford. The NBA is a guards' league. If you don't have them, you can't compete. Playing in Toronto, where nobody in the NBA notices you, Villanueva had better numbers than he did games ... What happens first? Damon Allen returns to play quarterback for the Argos or Adam Rita starts running the inept Argos offence?

HEAR AND THERE

The Blue Jays' season can be broken down rather succinctly: The Jays are a remarkable 43-24 (.642) in games that Josh Towers and Ty Taubenheim don't start and 4-15 (.210) in games they do ... The Denver Post offers up this number on their hometown boy, Roy Halladay: Doc won the Cy Young with a 22-7 record and a 3.25 earned-run average in 36 starts. In his past 36 starts, he actually has been better: A record of 23-6 with a 2.69 ERA ... Tough week in Detroit. Steve Yzerman retires and Ben Wallace leaves in free agency. That's a lot of hope gone ... This is the only matchup in tennis that matters anymore: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal playing in the final at Wimbledon ... If the Argos are taking the gamble and playing three imports on the offensive line, shouldn't they be able to block somebody? Anybody? ... Summer must stink for Peter Forsberg: Every year an operation, every year in rehab ... Paul Maurice has to be fudging the truth when he says he can live with the Leafs forwards. They were unequipped last year and there's little reason to believe that will change.

SCENE AND HEARD

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a problem. They can't fire coach Greg Marshall in good conscience and replace him with Joe Paopao when it's Paopao's inept offence that has Marshall's job in jeopardy ... It's too easy to qualify for the CFL playoffs. It makes for a season of too many meaningless games ... My favourite thirds: Arland Bruce, Albert Johnson, Davis Love and Thurston Howell ... Fact You Can't Live Without: Phil Kessel's father, the quarterback, once was traded by Chicago of the USFL in exchange for the rights to Walter Payton ... The only defencemen I'd take ahead of Tomas Kaberle: Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Ed Jovanovski, Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara, Robin Regehr and Dion Phaneuf ... With his broken-down body and age creeping up on him, Daniel Nestor still manages to make history in the normally forgettable sport of doubles tennis, by winning the longest doubles match in Grand Slam history. First it was Davis Cup, then the Olympics, now Wimbledon.

AND ANOTHER THING

The group of dissident hockey players intent on removing Ted Saskin as head of the NHL Players' Association has succeeded in bringing in displaced boss Bob Goodenow to their meetings this week. The plan is to videotape Goodenow's talk and replay it for all players at training camp in September. As if that will accomplish anything ... For those scoring at home, this is the fourth time Manny Ramirez has pulled the shoot on the all-star game. Each time a different excuse ... Feel terrible for Manny Legace, who had his best NHL season in goal for Detroit and hasn't received an offer from anybody in free agency ... This is how long Yzerman has been around: In his rookie year, he played on a team that included current Wings GM Ken Holland, New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan, NHL vice-president Colin Campbell, ESPN analyst Barry Melrose and Hall of Famer Brad Park ... Mike James is down to three teams in his free-agent quest -- the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves or Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors have no interest in Timberwolves players but may be able to pull off a sign-and-trade with either the Rockets or Mavericks ... And hey, whatever became of Sherwood Schwarz?


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