For the first time in 22 months Miami running back Ricky Williams suits up for an NFL game this Sunday, when the 2-2 Dolphins play at Tampa Bay. Williams's return from a one-year "retirement" and a four-week suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy couldn't have come at a better time for the Dolphins: The Bucs lead the league in run defense, having allowed 26, 47, 75, 91 and 84 rushing yards in their 4-1 start. During his suspension Williams (left) worked out daily at the Dolphins' facility but could not practice with the team. "He has worked hard," says coach Nick Saban, who figures to give Williams a handful of carries on Sunday. "I think it will come back to him quickly when he gets going with the team." Look for first-round pick Ronnie Brown (74 carries for 321 yards and one touchdown) to remain the primary ballcarrier for now, but for Saban to eventually go with the hot back.
Early in the third quarter against the Saints on Sunday, Packers tackle Mark Tauscher was flagged for the first holding penalty of his six-year career. It came in his 76th game.
HEAD TO HEAD
Dick Vermeil vs. Joe Gibbs
It's the AARP Bowl, as Kansas City hosts Washington this week. The last time Vermeil (left) and Gibbs (right) coached against each other was in 1982, when a 46-year-old Vermeil was burning out in Philadelphia and 42-year-old coaching wunderkind Gibbs was leading the Redskins to their first Super Bowl championship. The Skins swept the Eagles in that strike-shortened season, 37-34 and 13-9. Who would have thought that--23 years and 17 grandchildren later-- Gibbs and Vermeil would be working the 70-hour-week coaching grind while eligible for full Social Security benefits?
1 As the Oct. 18 trade deadline approaches, don't look for San Diego QB Philip Rivers to be on the market. The Chargers, who don't want to promote third-stringer Cleo Lemon to No. 2, will wait until the off-season to deal one of their QBs. Unless Drew Brees flops down the stretch, San Diego will trade Rivers.
2 Since the start of '04, New Orleans is 10-11 with Aaron Brooks at QB (23 TDs, 23 INTs, 56% completion rate). If the Saints stick with him beyond this year they're doomed to mediocrity.