National Football League

Former Saints running back Ricky Williams enters 'Club Shay Shay'

March 3

On this week's edition of "Club Shay Shay," former 11-year NFL running back Ricky Williams stopped by the club.

Williams is retired from the game, but his legacy lives on when it comes to his unorthodox decision-making, from his high-gamble rookie contract to an ESPN The Magazine cover spread with him in a wedding dress.

Let's start where Williams first began taking risks.

He was coming off his junior season at the University of Texas, with an impressive résumé by anyone's standards. However, with a few prestigious collegiate records in reach, he opted to stay an extra year.

"The expectation was to break all three of those records and win the Heisman Trophy. And I did."

Williams' decision paid dividends, as the "Texas Tornado" ran rampant en route to winning the Heisman Trophy and setting 20 NCAA records that he still holds or shares.

Following a sensational four-year career as a Longhorn, Williams had his sights set on being one of the first men off the board in the 1999 NFL Draft.

His dreams came true, as New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka traded all of the club's remaining 1999 picks to get Williams at No. 5.

Ditka wasn't the only one making risky decisions, as Williams signed with an agency – Master P's (Percy Miller) organization "No Limit Sports" – that had never represented a football player and then negotiated a bonus-laden contract.

He discussed that decision with Sharpe.

Williams received an $8.8 million signing bonus with salary incentives worth between $11 million and $68 million, most of which required top-level production.

Next came possibly the most memorable decision from Williams, as he posed for the cover of ESPN The Magazine with Ditka as a bride and groom, with the headline, "For Better Or For Worse."

"For me, I just thought it was funny. I didn't even think of how people would take it."

Williams sprained his ankle in the preseason, and after battling injuries throughout his rookie season, he earned only $125,000, the league minimum, while hitting just one incentive.

Ditka was fired following the season.

Make sure to check out the entire episode below!


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