As a certified personal sports columnist, I take some of my responsibilities seriously.

These responsibilities include reminding readers that mixing fluid from Barry Bonds' knee and Shaquille O'Neal's hematoma would be bad. Doing so might initiate a chemical reaction that obliges the subject to blame the media for Kobe Bryant.

But recent reports are threatening to require an even greater form of assistance from guys like me.

The sports personality requiring this assistance is former Miami Dolphins running-away back Ricky Williams.

In case you missed it, Ricky's agent — the highly paid and respected Leigh Steinberg — has warned us that Williams is threatening to return to professional football.

For the record, Ricky has only validated about 10 percent of what his agent has said.

Anyway, Leigh has told reporters that Ricky — who walked out on the Dolphins shortly before training camp opened last season — will participate in Miami's mini-camp.

First-year Dolphins coach Nick Saban seems to endorse this controversial comeback. It makes sense; if Williams demonstrates the ability to again rate among the league's best running backs, Miami will have a coveted hunk of trade bait.

Ricky also may be used to ease the burden of rookie Ronnie Brown, chosen by the Dolphins with the second overall pick in the recently conducted NFL draft. Brown, who split time at Auburn with "Cadillac" Williams, should have no problem sharing the ball with "VW Bus" Williams.

With a talent base even lower than that of an Ivy League cheerleading tryout, Saban has to explore all possibilities.

Williams' looming return represents a serious philosophical deviation from Ricky's previous and premature retirement journey.

After walking out on the Dolphins, Ricky reportedly toured the Far Out East with musician Lenny Kravitz, lived the high life inside an Australian tent community, studied holistic healing in Grass Valley, Calif., and returned to the Far Out East for yoga certification.

The yoga chops should come in handy. Since Williams still is being sued by team owner Wayne Huizinga for $8 million of a signing bonus that may be forfeited, the yoga-friendly Ricky now is capable of handling a flexible payment schedule.

It also should be noted that while attempting to find himself, Williams has lost 40 pounds.

With about three months of preparation remaining before the 2005 NFL season commences, Ricky may need accelerated training and diet maneuvers in his bid to approach that old playing weight of 235 pounds.

The only real American on record as having gained that much weight while participating in a conditioning program is former President Bill Clinton. Clinton, who invented the McDonald's run-through, allegedly added seven pounds on a single five-mile training run.

The only cartoon American to successfully wage a similar weight-gaining war is Homer Simpson, who rocketed from, oh, 240 to 300 after learning that high-caliber obesity would qualify him for disability and the opportunity to work at home.

Ricky, who has become something of a cartoon, reportedly embarked on a "rigorous" training routine a while back, Steinberg informs us. This may have something to do with being a licensed yoga practitioner.

I'm not sure if the yoga license must be surrendered when the holder is pulled over by the yoga police, but do know that organs can be harvested before the holder actually dies.

It should be noted that Leigh also feels confident that Williams is capable of returning to "role model" status in the NFL.

Perhaps the agent — whose job seems even more challenging than that experienced by the left side of John Rocker's brain — was referring to "roll model" status as defined by Ricky's alleged long-standing devotion to smoking weed.

According to published reports, this fondness for high times will be worth a four-game league suspension upon his return.

Ricky began cultivating this type of unwanted newsworthiness before suiting up for his first NFL game.

After landing the Heisman Trophy as a Texas Longhorn, his initial contract was negotiated by a representative from Team Master P. The base salary was relatively pedestrian, but did include lucrative incentive payouts if, for example, Ricky became the first man to rush for 1,500 yards on Mars.

Another name in Ricky's controversial rewind is former New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka, who swapped all of his team's picks just to move up and select Williams. Soon after, Mike and Ricky posed for a magazine-cover photograph that featured Williams in a dress.

It was reported that Ricky — whose weight has been an issue for years — asked those in attendance if the dress made him look fat.

Anyway, Williams also battled an anxiety disorder with the coping tactic of wearing a helmet during interviews. According to media historians, the only other record of helmet-assisted interviews was discovered in Portland, where reporters were a bit uncomfortable around Rasheed Wallace.

We're not sure if Ricky's walkabout of misunderstanding has come full circle, but returning to form will be more difficult than mastering the lotus position.

Another obstacle in his quest to regain a great deal of muscular weight in a short period of time is a reported reluctance to consume dead-animal protein.

A savvy guide on his caloric path to 40 pounds in three months could be almost any sports writer in a storm. Unfortunately, Ricky and the Dolphins are more interested in adding what is known as "good" weight. Running backs shouldn't enter a season without a reasonable level of body fat, but Williams needs to be able to see his shoes before tying them.

The workout routine can begin with dreadlifts.

According to rumor, 15 pounds of Ricky's 40-pound weight loss was credited to a hair cut. If he saved his dreads, these can be added to any load Williams may lift.

While yoga can be quite beneficial and has been used by many athletes in strength-related sports, Ricky will need much more.