Little luck for Ricky in playoffs

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

It has been a while since Ricky Williams has been a true impact player for a playoff-bound football team.

There wasn't a Dolphin or a Saint on his helmet when he was last a post-season factor. Instead, it was a Longhorn as the University of Texas phenom was finishing his Heisman Trophy-winning season.

To the delight of the home-state crowd, Williams rushed for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns, leading the 'Horns to a 38-11 win over Mississippi State in the 1999 Cotton Bowl.

During his NFL days, however, the post-season has been all but uneventful.

In fact, when the Argos play in the East semi-final on Nov. 5 or the division final on Nov. 12, it will be Williams' first meaningful playoff action of his pro career.

It would be the perfect time for the superstar running back on loan from the Miami Dolphins to bust out as an Argo. As his way, Williams won't be leading that cheer, however.

"(The playoffs) are the same as any other game," Williams said yesterday at the team's Mississauga practice facility. "To me, if you have to amp up for a playoff game, it means that during the season, you weren't playing your hardest.

"The good thing is we're still in the driver's seat and that we can still control our own destiny and be 60 minutes away from the Grey Cup."

With a win tomorrow against the Montreal Alouettes, the Argos can do just that, earning a bye and a home date for the East Division final.

And then Williams would get the chance to do something that was rare in his six NFL seasons. The three in Miami, including 2002 when he led the league in rushing, Williams and the Fish never played beyond the regular season.

His only playoff appearance as a pro came in 2000 when he helped stoke Super Bowl fever in New Orleans by returning to the lineup for the NFC divisional match against the Minnesota Vikings.

Williams had missed the final six games of the regular season and a wild-card playoff win over the defending champion St. Louis Rams because of a broken left ankle.

Predictably then, Williams wasn't up to speed and was held to 14 yards on six carries as the Saints fell 34-16 to the Vikes.

Though he hasn't had what could be described as a breakout game in three-down football, one couldn't come at a better time for struggling Argos offence.

"I find Ricky a very easy guy to cheer for," Argos president Keith Pelley said yesterday. "I hope that down the stretch he becomes the impact player we hoped for. That all depends on how the game goes and how the coaches call the game."

With as few as two and as many as four games remaining in his one-year CFL stint, few would be surprised if Williams didn't have some dazzle left.

"He could do it (have a breakout game) any time," Als coach Jim Popp said yesterday. "It's a different type of running game up here than in the NFL and he knows that.

"But he is very dangerous."


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