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AP NewsBreak: Williams rejects deal that would have allowed him back in 2005

MIAMI (AP) _ Ricky Williams rejected a deal that would have allowed him to serve a four-game drug suspension this season and return to the NFL next year.

``Ricky indicated to me that he is no longer interested in resuming his career at this time,'' Williams' lawyer, David Cornwell, said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner needed to let the league know by Thursday so he could be moved from the retired list to the suspended list by the deadline. He would have served the suspension for the Miami Dolphins' final four games, starting Dec. 12 at Denver.

``David Cornwell informed our office that Ricky Williams has declined to accept the terms of his reinstatement,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene wouldn't comment, saying the matter is between Williams and the NFL.

Williams, 27, stunned his team by retiring shortly before Miami opened training camp in July. The Dolphins filed a lawsuit in federal court against the running back, seeking the $8.6 million an arbitrator ruled he owes the team for breaching his contract. Williams is fighting the decision.

He is now enrolled in a 17-month course at the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley, Calif., studying holistic medicine.

The talks to allow Williams back into the league involved a promise to return to the field next season and to re-enter the NFL drug program immediately, including being tested on a regular basis.

``The NFL sought assurances that Ricky is indeed committed to playing,'' Cornwell said.

Williams gave up the $5 million he would have earned this season, which would have been his sixth in the NFL, amid reports he faced suspension for substance abuse.

He rushed for 3,225 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins, including a league-leading 1,853 yards in 2002. Miami acquired him from New Orleans after the 2001 season.

But without Williams, the Dolphins have gone into a tailspin. They're 2-9 and will finish with a losing record for the first time since 1988.

Williams has social-anxiety disorder and was a spokesman for an anti-depressant. He said marijuana helped him after he stopped using the anti-depressant.

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