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Dolphins may seek refund from Williams
MIAMI -- Ricky Williams could be forced to give back the Miami Dolphins more than $8 million already paid to him because he retired before the expiration of his contract.
Because of penalty clauses included when Williams' contract was reworked two years ago, the team could try to recoup $5.3 million in incentive money, said sources familiar with the terms who requested anonymity. The Dolphins also could seek $3.3 million of the $8.8 million signing bonus Williams received when he joined the New Orleans Saints in 1999, the sources said.
The Dolphins said they've made no decision about whether to pursue the matter.
"The contract is not an issue," Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said. "The contract will eventually take care of itself."
The focus has been on moving forward without Ricky and getting ready for training camp."
Williams stunned the Dolphins when he informed them of his retirement decision Friday, and they've had no contact with him since, Spielman said. Williams, who has been traveling for the past week, was in Boston on Tuesday and may return to South Florida by the end of the week, said his agent, Leigh Steinberg.
Williams decided to retire aware of potential consequences, financial and otherwise, Steinberg said.
"He's very much at peace and excited about embarking on the next phase of his life," Steinberg said. "I don't anticipate him changing his mind, but history is replete with examples of athletes who had second thoughts at later dates."
Barring a change of heart, Williams' retirement at age 27 leaves the Dolphins with a huge void in their offense. They'll begin training camp workouts Saturday missing a player who rushed for 3,225 yards in two seasons with Miami.
Williams was to earn at least $3.6 million this year, with incentives possibly pushing that total as high as $6 million.
The Dolphins acquired Williams before the 2002 season. He led the NFL that year with 1,853 yards rushing and broke nine team records. Last season, he ran for 1,372 yards.