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Dolphin pays Patriots the ultimate compliment

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  January 4, 2011 12:27 AM

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Dolphins running back Ricky Williams had some unflattering things to say about his team and coach Tony Sparano on 560-AM down in Miami (via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post).

But he did have a few things about the Patriots and the way they played in Sunday’s 38-7 victory. And it’s a powerful and impressive testament to what kind of team the Patriots are to this point:

“Usually after a rough season there’s a sense of relief when it’s over with, but I didn’t feel like that,” he said. “It’s the contrast with what they have going on in New England and what we have going on here, and it’s a very stark contrast.

“They had less to play for than we did … and they played harder than any team we played all year, and I just expect that from my team,” Williams said. He added, “I’m not angry at my teammates. I’m angry at the situation. That’s the coaches, myself, teammates, that’s everyone. That’s the whole environment that we have there, and I’m just frustrated that it’s not better.”

"They had less to play for than we did…and they played harder than any team we played all year."

I don’t know if there’s a higher compliment you can pay to a coach and a program than that quote. So hat’s off to Bill Belichick.

Williams also brought up Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, a former Dolphin: Williams gave the example of Rob Ninkovich, whom Sparano and the Dolphins cut in 2008, as a player who thrived in a more positive environment. Ninkovich had three sacks and two interceptions against the Dolphins this year as the Patriots’ starting outside linebacker.

“It’s not based on him necessarily making plays, it’s just based on him buying into a winning tradition,” Williams said.

It's funny, I spoke to a Dolphins running back after the game because he's about to become a free agent and could fit with the Patriots. It was Ronnie Brown, not Williams, who will also be a free agent. (I was also going to talk to Williams, but he didn't seem to be in the mood)

I could definitely see Williams in a Patriots uniform next year filling Fred Taylor's role. Williams has less miles and is more durable. And Nick Saban, Belichick's pal, absolutely loved coaching Williams with the Dolphins.

So, something to think about.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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