ricky williams
  • Faith: Hindu
  • Career: Athlete
  • Birthday:  May 21, 1977

Ricky Williams is a former football running back who played 11 seasons in the NFL and one season in the Canadian Football League. After playing football and baseball at Patrick Henry High School, he played college football for the Texas Longhorns, where he was a two-time unanimous All-American and won the 1998 Heisman Trophy. He broke the NCAA Division I-A records for career rushing yards and all-purpose yards during his senior year.

He played minor league baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system for four seasons during college and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Williams was selected by the New Orleans Saints fifth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft after a blockbuster trade and spent three seasons with the team before he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002. He played for the Dolphins for two seasons, leading the league in rushing in 2002, and retired for the first time from football in 2004.

Due to a suspension from the NFL, he played for the Toronto Argonauts in 2006. He rejoined the Dolphins in 2007 and played with them until 2010, and then he spent the 2011 season with the Baltimore Ravens. He earned first-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection with the Dolphins in 2002. Williams was born, with his twin sister Cassie, to Errick and Sandy Williams. Growing up middle class, his parents were divorced by 1983, and Williams, at the age of three, started taking care of his younger sister. His father later had three children through another marriage. As a child, Williams' mother sent him to counseling for anger problems.

He took a test as a six-year-old that revealed he had the intelligence of someone twice his age and earned honor roll recognition in high school. He once said, "I was always very bright but not necessarily a hard worker. I think I was in eighth grade when I became really focused as a student and started getting good grades." Williams was named to the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic team. He had a brown belt in Taekwondo by age 12. At San Diego's Patrick Henry High School, Williams mainly played football and baseball, in addition to wrestling and running track.

He notably lost a wrestling match to future NCAA wrestling champion and three-time Super Bowl champion Stephen Neal. During his junior year, he was named all-league in baseball as an outfielder and third baseman, and as a senior, he was named all-state.

What religion is Ricky Williams?

The son of a minister, Williams was raised Southern Baptist and attended church twice a week as a child. He still self-identifies as a Christian but says his yoga studies opened his mind to other religions, and his exact views on religion are challenging to label. He believes religions are cultural, and his beliefs include at least some Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu philosophies. He said, "Religions are something that were developed based on culture. The religions are many, but God is one. I believe based on what I've studied, all religions say the same thing but in different ways."

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