Ricky Quietly Reaches 10,000 Rushing Yards

RB Ricky Williams became the 26th player in NFL history to reach the milestone.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Running back Ricky Williams became the 26th running back in NFL history to run for 10,000 career yards on a 10-yard carry in the second quarter last Sunday.

The major milestone was quietly mentioned by media outlets, including the CBS broadcast when he hit the mark, but that’s probably the way Williams liked it.

As Head Coach John Harbaugh was recognizing players’ individual accomplishments in the jubilant postgame locker room following the Ravens’ 24-16 victory, he was informed of Williams’ mark by running back Ray Rice.

The team started chanting, “Ricky! Ricky! Ricky!”

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky!

A seemingly bashful Williams came to the front of the circle, shook Harbaugh’s hand and slipped into the background of the clamor with a slight grin on his face. Players and coaches tried to coax him into a speech, but it wasn’t happening.

“I thought it was a little excessive,” Williams said with a laugh, “but I appreciated it.”

Williams has been quiet about everything this season – his backup role behind Rice, his leadership, his standout play.

“He’s a humble, hard-working guy with a ton of talent,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a selfless kind of guy.”

Williams now has 10,009 rushing yards for his career. There are only two other active tailbacks with that much mileage on the ground – the New York Jets’ LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and Kansas City’s Thomas Jones (10,591).

So how has Williams done it?

“It’s like that [documentary], ‘Run Ricky Run.’ That’s basically what he does,” Harbaugh said. “He basically goes north and south and runs as hard and fast as he can. He’s a special guy.”

It technically took Williams 13 years to reach the feat, but he did it with about three seasons lost.

In 1999, former New Orleans Head Coach Mike Ditka traded away all of the Saints’ draft picks and a first and a third the following year to get the rights to take Williams with the fifth-overall pick. The expectations were massive.

Williams, 34, had some curves along the way. He took a year off in 2004 to study holistic medicine and was suspended from the NFL in 2006, which led him briefly to the Canadian Football League.

So how does he look at the record?

“It just means that I’ve been around for a long time,” Williams said. “If you’re around long enough and you get the ball enough, you’re going to get yards.

“But that’s a talent in itself to be able to last this long. I’ve taken good care of my body and played well enough that someone wanted me.”

The Ravens have had just one year with him, but have been impressed.

Rice said Williams is one of the two best things that has happened to him in his career [the second being Vonta Leach].

Rice was asked what it would mean to him if Williams, who finished the regular season with 444 rushing yards and a long of 28 yards, had a big run in the postseason.

“If he breaks one, I’ll try not to get a flag for running on the field,” Rice said. “Because I know he’s due for one.”

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