Ravens: Ranking every Heisman Trophy winner who played for Baltimore

Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /
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4. Ricky Williams, RB, Ravens

  • 1998 Heisman Trophy winner
  • Ravens tenure: 2011

Ask football people in 1999 about Ricky Williams and they’d speak volumes about his prolific career with the Texas Longhorns. Some (and by some, I mean Mike Ditka) would say he was worth trading an entire team’s draft haul.

Philadelphia Eagles fans who packed Madison Square Garden for the 1999 NFL Draft loudly booed when their team passed over him for Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Ask those same people in 2011, and they’d sing a different tune. While he was a productive NFL running back — he even led the league in rushing in 2002 — his career was plagued by controversy and injury.

Still, the Baltimore Ravens were willing to take a chance on the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and signed Williams for the 2011 season.

It made some sense at the time. After all, two years earlier, he’d somehow managed to eke out a 1,000-yard season for Miami at the age of 32.

The Ravens wouldn’t receive that same level of production from Williams in 2011, nor did they really expect to. He served as a backup and veteran mentor to Ray Rice, who had career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns that season.

Williams picked up 444 yards and two touchdowns that season, crossing the 10,000 career yards plateau in the process.

Although the Ravens signed Williams to a two-year deal, he chose to retire after the season. Had he stayed for that second year, he would have been a part of the Ravens’ second Super Bowl team.