March 30, 2012
On the statue dedication: It still hasn't hit me yet. I got a chance last summer to go up and see the statue as it was being finished. And it was cool. It was cool to be a part of it. But to actually see it in the ground - it was clay when I saw it - actually didn't see it in the ground, in its finished form. It's going to be neat. I'm looking forward to it.
On if he spoke to Earl Campbell about the statue: We haven't talked about this specifically. No, we haven't. I guess for me it's a statue of me, but I guess I look at it more as it's a celebration of the university and the time I spent here. The success I had was a reflection of the university. And I think had I gone to any other school, I don't think I would have had the kind of success I had. So for me it's more of a celebration of achievement that's come out of the University of Texas.
On if he feels he is a part of the success Texas has had in recent years: I would say I was a part of it. I definitely was a part of it. And that was one of my goals when I came to the university was to be part of a transformation of a change, and I had fun. I had fun doing it. And it's even more fun now to watch how big this has all become. I look forward to the future and more.
On his favorite memory of his time here: I don't have one. I have a bunch of them. My favorite moment would probably be something that no one would understand anyway. But just being in this environment for four years was amazing, and I can honestly say that pretty much every day was a great moment here. I had a lot of great friends. I had so much support from the football office and everyone in it - great coaches and teammates. The whole experience was special for me. I look back at each year and each year it's a different story. So my freshman year I was just trying to make a name for myself. Actually it's the same story. And my sophomore year I was trying to make a name for myself. My junior year I was just trying to make a name for myself. And my senior year, it's the same story. But the platform kept growing. And I had a chance to talk with some of the running backs yesterday, with Coach Applewhite. One of the things I wanted to get across to them, one of the great things about being at this university, you have so much support and the expectations are so high that you have all the possibility in the world to reach your full potential. And there's not going to be anyone around here that's going to hold you back. If anything, if you want it, if you want to be the best, go ahead and take it. And I think Earl proved it, I proved it, Vince proved it, Colt proved it. I look at the statue as a symbol for everyone who comes to the university to say -- I want them to look at that and say I want mine to be right next to Ricky's and right next to Earl's.
On his impressions of the current running backs after meeting them: I was fortunate. I got to sit through the meeting, got to see the whole practice from a player/coach perspective and I liked what I saw. I like that they're all quick. They all have nice size. They're all very explosive. From what I hear there's more coming. It's going to be a fun time for running backs this season.
On how the idea for Sunday's roast came about: So I started Ricky's Kids, an after-school program, started it about a year ago. And up to this point, 99 percent of it has been funded straight from me. So we were saying that we need to have some kind of fundraiser. And so we came up with the idea first just to do a dinner, kind of a meet and greet. And actually I was talking to [former Texas running backs coach] Bucky Godbolt, and he came up with the idea. And I liked the idea. And so I decided to go ahead and organize it.
On if he would ever want to be a football coach: I thought so until I sat in the room with Major yesterday. And it crosses my mind, but nothing that I see happening. But anything can change. I love the game and I love being around the guys, and so definitely a possibility.
On his daily plans: What I've been doing the past couple of weeks - I wake up and I say to myself, "What grand and glorious adventure do I want to do today?" Every day I've had, I've had really wonderful days. And yesterday was awesome. I got a chance to come over here, spend some time. I went to Mt. Bonnell in the early afternoon, took some pictures. Spent some time with [media relations director] John [Bianco], had a nice dinner, went over to the TV station and went out and met friends for dinner. Just really enjoying myself.
On if he had regrets about his pro career: Well, I think regrets are when you have a goal and your goal is not reached. When I got to the NFL, I didn't really have any goals. And when I came out, after 11 seasons, I realized even more so that I'm a special person, unique person, and I have the ability to make change in the world. And I'll take that. And I don't think I would have been able to have this platform if I hadn't had the kind of career that I had.
On if politics is a possibility in his future: I don't think so. No politics. Maybe. Actually, maybe.
On where "home base" will be for him: Austin is what I'm thinking. I've been traveling a lot since I retired. So my closet is in Fort Lauderdale. But I'm thinking I'll be enrolling in school in August, September, and so I'll settle there for the next couple of years.
On if he considered playing this year: It definitely crossed my mind, but the unfortunate thing about my situation is I'm different than a lot of other players. So there's not a role for a 35-year-old running back who still can play like he's 28, 29. Especially with my past, I don't think a lot of teams are going to feel comfortable giving me the opportunity I deserve and that I can make the most of. So last year I had a great time in Baltimore, but playing 15 plays a game and carrying the ball six times, that's not me. Yeah, it crossed my mind, but didn't work out like that. Yeah, they wanted me to come back.
On if Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh tried to talk him out of retiring: Actually, I think he could sense that he couldn't, so he didn't try. He was actually very supportive of my plans after football.
On going back to school: It's funny being a student walking past my statue. What I want to do with school? I want to get a "T" ring - one of the things I wanted to do a long time ago.
On if he will walk by the statue every day: I'm going to walk by it every day. [Laughs]
On thinking back to the Texas A&M game when he broke the NCAA all-time rushing record: After I broke the record, the next play on offense I fumbled. That's what I remember. Everything else is really a blur pretty much. It was so magical, it was hard to grasp the energy. When I came back to the sidelines, Coach [Brown] grabbed my helmet and said, "Come on, I know you broke the record, but you gotta hold on to the ball."
On what he would say to underclassmen who wanted to leave school early: I would say whatever works best for you. I mean, I thought about leaving school early. Especially after Coach [John] Mackovic was fired. And I was open to whatever. It was the right thing for me to stay here. That's not going to be the same story for everyone. I would say try not to listen to what anyone says, go to a quiet place and figure out what you want for your life and make the choice that suits you best. For me when I was 12 years old, I was home watching Notre Dame football on television, and I decided that I wanted to be a college football player. It wasn't [that ] I wanted to be a professional football player; I wanted to be a college football player. And the thing I say a lot, if you want to be an actress or actor, you go to Hollywood. If you want to shop, you go to Paris or New York. If you want to play college football, you come to Austin, Texas. So I came here for the college football experience. And I got that and a million times more. It was really special my time here.
On what he would change in the NFL if he was commissioner: I've got to keep those things in my back pocket. One idea I'll share with you. So last year they were talking about or the year before they were talking about extending the season to 18 games. And so my idea was extend it to 18 games, but you make it mandatory that each player has to sit out two games. You make the same money for 18 games, but it's not as much pain and not as hard on players' bodies. There's a lot of fun things you could do with that. You have to expand the roster, of course, but you would get -- more players would have a chance to make a name for themselves because they'd have at least two opportunities to start. Yes. Players would like it a lot. Play the extra games. And there's a lot of great talent in the league that never gets shown because they're behind someone else. You see a lot of stories where these guys get backup roles and become free agents and get a chance to start. Like [RB] Michael Turner in Atlanta. Also I think it would save the players' bodies and you would see a lot less injuries, because I think the most difficult things about playing football, especially in the NFL -- is when you're on the borderline between being too injured to play and being able to play hurt. I think if you have a mandatory two games you have to sit out, it takes a lot of the pressure off the players.
On if dividing up carries among the Texas running backs will extend their careers: Well, I mean, it's weird to talk about extending careers in college, because when I was in college I carried the ball a whole bunch of times. Especially my senior year. [Laughs and looks at Coach Brown] I was looking at it the other day thinking, "Wow." I think I was used perfectly. I have a trophy to prove it. Thank you.