The Tyler Police Department has confirmed an “incident” occurred with a Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL running back while he was in town for the Earl Campbell Award ceremony last week.
Ex-University of Texas star Ricky Williams made the trip to Tyler to support two more former UT running backs: the award’s namesake Earl Campbell and the eventual winner of the award, D’Onta Foreman. The award ceremony was held at the Willow Brook Country Club.
According to Don Martin, Public Information Officer for the Tyler Police Department, the incident involving Williams occurred at the Courtyard Marriott in the 7400 block of South Broadway Avenue.
“I usually don’t consider where I am because I’m ‘Ricky Williams,” and I think that’s good enough,” Williams told the radio hosts. ” And I started to get a little bit upset and they said, ‘Calm down,’ and I said, ‘Listen, you don’t know what it’s like to be a black man, this is not the first time this has happened to me when cops have harassed me and I haven’t done anything.'”
Williams claims one of the officers told him, “If you’re staying in the hotel, it makes sense why you were walking here. But, if you came from North Tyler, it doesn’t make sense.”
“Honestly, to their defense (the officers), and I don’t know why I’m defending them, they’re not used to seeing people and they get a call, they have to follow up,” Williams said. “And I hope that after this situation, they realize that black lives do matter. I’ve never wanted to say that, but this was a time where it fits. It fits in Tyler in that moment.”
On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Tyler police say they received a call from a resident in the 8200 block of Yale in reference to a suspicious person behind the fence line in his back yard.
The caller said his dog was barking in the back yard and if someone was back there. The caller said he saw a black man, wearing all black, crouching behind the wire fence in a green belt area that backed up to the Courtyard Marriott.
The home owner claimed he spoke with the subject who asked if the owner was looking for his dog. Police say the homeowner said the man then continued a short distance to the north climbing over a fence into the Colonial Hills Baptist Church rear parking lot.
After the man left the area, the home owner called police.
While checking the area, police spoke with a construction worker at the Saltgrass Steak House property and were told a person matching the man’s description had been seen in the area.
The worker told police the person picked up a tape measurer and “was going to walk off with it.” Police say the worker told the man the property was not his and it was returned.
Around 4:00 p.m., police found the man matching the description just north of the Courtyard Marriott. Officers conducted a short investigation in reference to the suspicious person call.
During the course of the interview, police say they identified the individual as Ricky Williams. After obtaining all of the necessary information, officers left the scene.
The officers took no further action.
Among Williams’ NCAA records were career rushing yards (6,279), all-purpose yards (7,206), rushing TDs (72), total TDs (75), scoring (452 points), games with a TD (33), games with two or more TDs (21), yards per rush (6.2/min. 780 carries) and 200-yard games (11). He also won back-to-back NCAA rushing and scoring titles in 1997-98. One of only two members of the NCAA all-time top 12 all-purpose yardage performers who never returned a kick, he also tied an NCAA mark by posting back-to-back 2,000-yard all-purpose seasons. For UT records, Williams broke Earl Campbell’s UT all-time rushing record in 1998 and set records for 300-yard games (two), 200-yard games (11) and 100-yard games (28), while also setting the single-game mark with 350 yards against Iowa State in 1998.
A 2002 trade sent Williams to the Miami Dolphins where he led the NFL in rushing in his first season there and set Dolphins single-season records with 1,853 yards (13th-best season rushing total in NFL history) and 2,216 total yards from scrimmage. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and was named MVP at that game. The Dolphins co-MVP rushed for a team-record 16 TDs and ranked second on the team with 47 catches for 363 yards. During his seven-year Dolphins career, which ran until 2010, he logged the top two single-season rushing years in team history (1,853 in 2002 and 1,372 in 2003). His 392 rushing attempts in 2003, and 383 in 2002 were tops in franchise history and amongst the highest in consecutive seasons on NFL record. In 2009, Williams rushed for 1,121 yards, which ranks fifth on the Dolphins single-season list. He owns the most 100-yard rushing games in team history (24) and the most in a single season in team history (10 in 2002). He ranks a very close second on the Dolphins career lists in both rushing yards with 6,436 yards (Larry Csonka – 6,737) and rushing TDs with 48 (Csonka – 53).
In his final NFL season, Williams rushed for 444 yards and two TDs and tallied 527 yards from scrimmage in helping the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship game. Baltimore came up just shy of reaching the Super Bowl, suffering a 23-20 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots.