Ricky Williams's latest comeback lasted one game.
The Miami Dolphins running back will miss the rest of the season with a torn chest muscle, hurt Monday night against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, when he played in his first game in nearly two years. He returned following a 1 1/2-year suspension for his latest violation of the NFL drug policy.
The 0-11 Dolphins were eager to showcase Williams in hopes of increasing his trade value. Coach Cam Cameron decided to play Williams only a week after he joined practice.
Williams was injured in the second quarter on a play when he fumbled. After being tackled, he was accidentally stepped on while chest-down on the ground.
Williams left the game, returned briefly, and departed for good after one more carry. He finished with 15 yards on six carries, and the Dolphins lost, 3-0, on a last-minute field goal.
The Williams injury wasn't the only development from a strange Monday night game.
With the kickoff at Heinz Field already delayed 25 minutes by terrible weather, and a stadium filled with rain-drenched fans growing impatient for that kickoff, the NFL skipped the national anthem.
Motley Crue singer Vince Neil was booked to perform the anthem, but there apparently were concerns that setting up a microphone and other electrical gear on a swamped field might take much longer than normal and be unsafe.
"Due to the severe inclement weather conditions that caused a delay in [the] game in Pittsburgh, a decision was made by NFL representatives at the game to shorten pregame warm-ups and other activities and kick off as quickly as possible for the benefit of the in-stadium fans and the teams," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said yesterday.
"This action was taken solely due to the severe weather and the condition of the field."
Steelers president Art Rooney II said the team now wishes the anthem had been played.
"In retrospect, the decision to cancel the national anthem was one that we regret," Rooney said in a statement issued by the team.
Slowed by a muddy track that became worse as the rain returned periodically, especially since the much-used field had just been re-sodded, neither team scored until Jeff Reed's 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 victory.
It was the first time since 1943, when the league's last 0-0 tie occurred, that two NFL teams went scoreless for so long.
Colts release Rice
Defensive end Simeon Rice
, signed two weeks ago to fill in for injured Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney
, was released by the Indianapolis Colts. Rice, who played one season for Colts coach Tony Dungy
at Tampa Bay, was claimed off waivers from Denver after Freeney suffered a season-ending foot injury at San Diego. Rice played the past two games, both as a reserve, and had one sack . . . Some NFL players will donate part of their paychecks from Dec. 23 games to help needy retired players. Kansas City Chiefs lineman Kyle Turley
, at a news conference to announce the plan at Mike Ditka's
restaurant in Chicago, said he will donate his $25,000 paycheck. Ditka has been vocal in publicizing the plight of former players who struggle with the effects of lingering physical problems. The effort is the latest chapter in a public and bitter feud between retired players and the NFL Players Association. Ditka and others say the union refuses to award disability benefits to former players.
Vick trial date setMichael Vick's
lead attorney left open the possibility of a plea agreement after the suspended NFL star quarterback was scheduled in Sussex, Va., for an April 2 jury trial on state dogfighting charges . . . The Chiefs signed 43-year-old free agent kicker John Carney
. Carney replaces Dave Rayner
, who was 15 of 22 after replacing Justin Medlock
, a rookie the Chiefs drafted with a supplemental pick in the fifth round out of UCLA but gave up on in September . . . The New York Giants released halfback Patrick Pass
, a former Patriot . . . Arizona Cardinals starting cornerback Eric Green
is out for the rest of the season with a groin tear sustained in Sunday's 37-31 overtime loss to San Francisco . . . Vikings defensive tackle Fred Evans
received a two-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy during a pair of offseason incidents. Evans was arrested twice this summer while he was on Miami's roster, for marijuana possession in Texas and for fighting with police in Florida . . . Carolina Panthers guard Jeremy Bridges
was found guilty of pointing a gun at a woman in a parking lot and was given a 60-day suspended jail sentence . . . A judge ruled Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Khalif Barnes
didn't violate his drunken driving probation by crashing his car Sept. 29 on his way to medical treatment . . . Bill Willis
, a Hall of Fame guard with the Cleveland Browns who also was Ohio State's first black football All-American, died last night in Columbus, Ohio, a university spokesman said. He was 86.
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