It is a week away from pre-season training camp for NFL teams. Those of you who have been reading this place for a while will know that I am a Miami Dolphins fan.
You may also know that I literally can't wait for the NFL season to start. It is really the only sport I have a true passion for. The Dolphins are the only sports team I have a true passion for.
This has not been a good off-season for the Dolphins. Still, as always, I was full of hope. It is my duty as a fan to be full of hope. Why was it a difficult off-season?
Well, the Dolphins needed to address their largest weakness, which was their ineffective offensive line. They didn't do that. Instead, they have a bunch of rookies who will likely get eaten up (Still, being an optimistic fan, I hoped that they'd all surprise us and perform to an acceptable level). They tried to find a General Manager, and failed (no problem says optimistic fan). They brought in Dan Marino, Miami hero and icon, to be President of the team. He quit a week later (odd, thought Optimistic fan. Odd, but not too damaging). Their beloved Offensive Coordinator, Norv Turner, left to a plum college head coach job (could hurt, but let's give the next guy a chance). The guy that replaced him quit about a month and a half later after suffering from exhaustion. (okay, this is getting weird thinks Optimistic Fan). The current OC is a babe in the woods, this being his first opportunity with the position. The Dolphins have an adequate quarterback in Jay Fiedler, but all agree an upgrade was essential. They went and got another team's third string qb, AJ Feely (at too high a cost, may feel) to compete for the starting position. (Just watch. He'll prove to be a shining star who was never given a fair chance. This is his chance). Currently, a week out of training camp, it seems Feely isn't up to competing against the incumbent adequate qb (there's still hope, says I). A couple of the Dolphin's players were arrested/charged with crimes, one of which involved a player assaulting his pregnant wife (it should be noted that she was also charged with assaulting him, I think) (okay, this happens all the time in the NFL, so no big deal, as far as snuffing out the flames of hope).
Even after all that, a truly awful, chaotic off-season, I had hope for the season. This would be the year, I thought, that expectations on/from the Dolphins would be lower, and the team would rise above it all and be the surprise of the season.
I believed that, firstly because I am an optimistic fan, and secondly, because the Dolphins have Ricky Williams. Without question, Ricky Williams is the star of the team. The running back, around which the entire team has been built. Just adequate qb? No problem, hand it off to Ricky. Rookie OC? No problem, just hand it off to Ricky.
Ricky Williams is such a great player that other teams are forced to defend against him specifically, otherwise he'll eat them up. Ricky Williams is an elite running back in a game of elite running backs. Ricky Williams has the ability to set new records for rushing in a game and in a season. Ricky Williams is All That.
Most importantly, Ricky Williams will win us (the Dolphins and their fans) games this year. Even after a horrible off-season, I've been looking at perhaps 11 wins this season.
All hope is pinned on Ricky Williams. I am such a fan of the Dolphins, and such a fan of the potential of what Ricky Williams can do for this team, that, when he joined the team two years ago, I actually bought a McFarlane figurine of Ricky Williams. Yes, Ricky Williams is important enough to me that I bought a doll of him. And I love the doll.
Today, I discover, Ricky Williams has suddenly decided to retire. At the age of 27. In the prime of his game. A week before training camp starts. Leaving the Dolphins without any valid offensive weaponry. They are sunk.
I am hope-broken. I'll not be getting NFL Sunday Ticket this year, just to watch the Dolphins lose 12 to 14 of 16 games this season.
It is a sad, sad, sad football day for me.
If God wanted to truly test Job, he should've pulled this stunt on him.