One and One

Dennis Coyle

Whose Fault?Ricky Williams was a college football player superstar but fell short of a NFL standout; however, he did fit the shoes of an average NFL rookie.

Williams, who was sidelined throughout the season from multiple injuries, rushed for 884 yards and contributed to the New Orleans Saints’ 3-13 record.

Just a year after setting 20 NCAA rushing records and being honored with the Heisman Trophy, Williams was told to grow up by coach “Iron” Mike Ditka.

“I never asked coach to draft me,” Williams said after Ditka was fired. “I didn’t want to come and play for a team that was 3-13. If the team in general would have played better, than maybe I would feel guilty.”

Williams’ expected stellar season earned him a seven-year contract that could have earned him as much as $68.4 million. The key words were “could have.” His contract was filled with incentives. If Williams had racked up 1,600 yards rushing, he’d have been left with a cool million in his pocket. That mark has only been broken nine times in the past decade.

Unfortunately for Williams, his family and the sports agency headed by rapper Master P., Williams fell short of everyone else’s goals.

“I don’t really care if my teammates or the fans blame me for the year,” Williams said. “I’m not saying it was Ditka’s fault, but some of it probably was. It wasn’t everybody’s fault. We should have all done better.”

Shove It

As if anyone didn’t know, when push comes to shove in the NBA, players are fined. What people aren’t aware of is that coaches are too.

Last Friday, Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson was tossed and fined $10,000 by the NBA.

During the third quarter, Nelson would not accept the call by referee Scott Wall in the matter of Utah’s Karl Malone hitting Shawn Bradley’s midsection with his knee. After being slapped with a double technical foul and being ejected, Nelson bumped Wall and got into a shoving altercation with Malone.

The two were separated and Nelson was escorted off the court. Malone was also fined $10,000 for elbowing Bradley earlier in the game.