There will be a new biopic about Ricky Williams’ career, focusing on the year he withdrew from professional sports. The announcement by the Los Angeles production company Modern Magic came just days before the renaming ceremony of the University of Texas football field in honor of Williams and Earl Campbell.
In 1998, Williams broke Tony Dorsett’s NCAA career rushing record. That same year, he won the Heisman Trophy. The New Orleans Saints drafted Williams fifth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. In 2011, Ricky Williams walked away from it all.
A decade later, the Williams biopic is timely
In some ways, Williams was a man ahead of his time. Early in his NFL career, Williams became the poster boy for marijuana-related NFL suspensions. Years later, the NFL relaxed its rules on marijuana.
Williams, diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, sometimes gave locker room interviews wearing his football helmet. At the time, it was viewed as quirky or irreverent. When Williams left pro sports for good, he was mocked by the sports world.
In today’s world, Williams’ choices may have been viewed differently — especially after the high-profile withdrawals of Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka. To some extent, the Williams biopic is an opportunity to view his decision with enlightened hindsight.
Meanwhile, Williams has landed on his feet. In 2016, he shared his journey at a University of Texas conference on black-student athletes.
“There was one point where literally everyone in my life thought I had lost my mind,” Williams said. “To walk away from the NFL and just leave? It was by faith. I kept on going knowing that at the end things were going to turn around.”
Since leaving the NFL, Williams went back to college and finished his undergraduate degree. But the University of Texas has bestowed more than a diploma on the two-time All-American.
Campbell and Williams collaborate on NFTs
There are statutes of both Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams in the University of Texas at Austin’s Hall of Fame. But the Longhorns’ two Heisman winners are now featured even more prominently on campus. On Saturday, UT celebrated the renaming of its football field. Both Campbell and Williams attended the dedication of the Campbell-Williams Field.
This is Earl's & Ricky's field now pic.twitter.com/ZIDzbBnxVw
— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) September 4, 2021
Meanwhile, Campbell and Williams have teamed up for a venture celebrating the historic moment. The two Longhorn legends are collaborating on a series of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Auctions for the Campbell-Williams Field Collection begin on Sept. 8.
There NFTs collection includes four different designs.
- The Campbell-Williams Experience: An edition of one NFT entitling the owner to two VIP tickets to William’s Super Bowl 2022 party in Los Angeles, two tickets to the 2022 Super Bowl, dinner with Earl Campbell and friends at a mutually agreed upon date in Los Angeles, and a “UT Legend” memorabilia package. (Recipient must be age 21 or older).
- Art of Bryson: An edition of one NFT entitling the owner to two tickets to The Red River Showdown at The Cotton Bowl, a 20-minute Zoom call with Campbell, Williams, and special guests, signed cleats from Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson, turf from Longhorns’ field between the 2009 and 2020 seasons, a Real Wellness Herbal product package, and an Earl Campbell Meat Products care package.
- The Moon Ticket: A series of six NFTs entitling owners to a private, one-hour astrology session with Ricky Williams to discuss topic(s) of choice.
- Day One: A series of 100 NFTs featuring digital artwork and digital signatures of Campbell and Williams.
Twenty-five percent of the NFTs’ proceeds will go to the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.