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Marlins players react to Ricky Williams retiring


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MONTREAL -- South Florida sports fans received some heart-stopping news when it was reported that Ricky Williams told the Dolphins that he was hanging up his cleats at the young age of 27 with just five years of pro experience and just days before NFL training camp opens.


The news even rattled the locker room of the Marlins, the team that shares Pro Player Stadium with the Dolphins.


"It's kind of out of nowhere. I wish him all the best, though," Dontrelle Willis said. "He's a good guy, and you've got to live your life. But as a fan, and especially a fan of South Florida sports, you don't want to see him go. But if you have your reasons and you want to live your life, you've got to respect the man's wishes. We'll just hope he comes back because he's young; he's got a lot of yards to pick up and a lot of memories to build, even though he's done well for us."


Willis, a big football fan who has met Williams a couple of times, said that he was stunned to hear the news of the running back's decision to walk away in the prime of his career.


"It was kind of out of the blue," Dontrelle added. "He was in camp. Hopefully, everything's OK at home for him. He's a real nice guy. I hung out with him a couple of times."


Willis is unquestionably one of the most popular Marlins with both fans and teammates. His exuberance and love of the game is a big reason for his appeal, so the big left-hander joked that when his playing days come to an end, it will not be a voluntary decision.


"For me, they're definitely going to have to release me," Willis said cracking his All-Star smile. "I love the team, I love South Florida and I love the game of baseball. I love playing, but by the same token, I'm not going through whatever he's going through at home for him to retire at 27. I can't say. If something happens at home, I'd probably go out and take care of that, too. But right now, I'm just enjoying playing too much."



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