Ricky Williams joins CFL’s Toronto Argonauts

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TORONTO (AP) – Ricky Williams has a new home in the CFL.

The Toronto Argonauts signed suspended Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams on Sunday, making the announcement at an afternoon news conference.

Earlier in the day, Williams was shown on the Rogers Center videoboard at the White Sox-Blue Jays game wearing an Argonauts hat and was introduced as the team’s newest player.

Williams was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2006 season after a fourth positive drug test. He missed Miami’s first four games last year following his third positive test, and lost an appeal over the fourth positive – which carries a mandatory one-year ban.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban issued a statement saying the team was leaving the decision to play in the CFL up to Williams. The Dolphins have supported Williams throughout the suspension, but insisted on assurances that he’d be allowed to return to the team in 2007 – provided he’s reinstated by the NFL.

“We expressed to Ricky our concerns about playing in Toronto in 2006,” Saban said. “We are relying on assurances made by Ricky, his agent, the Toronto Argonauts, and the commissioner of the Canadian Football League that Ricky will return to the Dolphins in 2007.

“Based on these assurances and despite our concerns for Ricky playing in the CFL in 2006, we will leave it up to him to decide whether or not he will negotiate a contract to play for the Argonauts this year.”

Williams will earn around $250,000 with Toronto, which would easily make him the highest-paid running back in the league. He still owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract when he retired in 2004.

The 29-year-old Williams, who won the Heisman Trophy while at Texas, rushed for 743 yards last year and averaged over 4 yards a carry with Miami.

AP-ES-05-28-06 1654EDT

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