From the second he arrived on campus, it was evident he would be a star. How much so? Well, he won a Heisman in 1998 and is Texas' all-time leading rusher.
But there's so much more than meets the eye with Ricky Williams, perhaps one of the faces of Texas football. In recent years, he's found a calling in business, working on developing his own strain of cannabis called 'Highsmith'.
That's the Williams most people know today — an advocate of marijuana usage for professional athletes today. What fans of the Forty Acres might not have known is the role his usage played in 1998.
During an interview with SI's Greg Bishop, Williams said he would initially smoke after breaking up with his girlfriend. A roommate suggested it would calm his nerves and help him relax.
It did, along with setting up one of the greatest running back seasons in the history of college football. In Williams' senior season, he rushed for 2,124 and broke the NCAA career rushing record on his way to winning the Heisman.
“I wouldn’t have won the Heisman without it,” Williams says of his cannabis usage.
Williams told Bishop he believes he would be in the Hall of Fame had sports back then would have been more accepting, more understanding, closer to what they are today. He stated that former Saints coach Mike Ditka used to call him aloof due to his quiet demeanor and nicknamed him "Ricky Weirdo."
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In reality, the NFL did not understand Williams' social anxiety. In the last two decades, the league has become more outspoken on issues such as depression and anxiety that can be caused outside the game.
Williams finished his time with the Longhorns as college football's top player. Currently, he still holds the record for most rushing yards all-time by a Longhorn player and most in a single season.
Never forgetting his roots, Williams' cannabis business comes in three flavors, one of which is wrapped in a burnt orange foil, representing his time at Texas. The other two are covered in black-and-gold for his time the Saints, and Dolphins teal for his revitalizing time in Miami.
Williams might be the biggest mystery of the NFL due to the ruling on marijuana charges, but he holds no regrets. His usage might have shortened his playing career, but it also helped him become one of the great players in Texas history.
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