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Saints' Williams solid in debut

Ricky Williams started slowly, finished with a limp and was outgained by Cecil Collins.

Still, the Saints had no complaints about their rookie running back's NFL debut.

Williams carried nine times for 44 yards in the first quarter before a minor shin bruise sidelined him, and the Saints beat the Dolphins 26-14 Friday in the preseason opener for both.

Collins looked equally impressive for Miami, although he ran against second- and third-team defenders. The fifth-round draft choice, bolstering his bid for a starting job, came off the bench to carry 17 times for 93 yards, including a 9-yard TD run in the fourth.

The Saints built a 20-0 lead in the second quarter, stopping the Dolphins without a first down on Dan Marino's three series. Fred Weary recovered a fumble at the goal line on a Miami kickoff return for a touchdown, and Troy Davis scored on a 5-yard run.

Williams was stuffed for no gain and a 6-yard loss on his first two carries before showing why the Saints traded their entire draft to acquire him. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner darted 20 yards on a delay, ran wide for 12 yards and had a pair of 8-yard runs.

"When I first got out there, I was really nervous and didn't know what to expect," he said. "On each carry, I felt more and more comfortable."

Coach Mike Ditka planned to limit Williams to 18 plays. But Miami coach Jimmy Johnson wanted plenty of carries for Collins, who played only six games at LSU and McNeese State because of drug and legal problems.

"He was huffing and puffing and we kept giving it to him, and he kept knocking guys out of the way," Johnson said.

Dolphins All-Pro middle linebacker Zach Thomas (concussion) sat out.

In the trial of Dolphins WR Tony Martin, a defense lawyer argued Martin was trying to help a hometown friend, not launder money, when he offered to pay a convicted drug dealer's legal expenses.

BENGALS: RB Ki-Jana Carter (burst cyst in knee) probably will miss another 10 days.

CHARGERS: WR Charlie Jones likely will be sidelined at least eight weeks after dislocating his left hip in Thursday's loss to the 49ers. The initial prognosis called for Jones to miss six weeks, but a small fracture in the hip joint was discovered in an MRI exam.

PACKERS: WR Antonio Freeman will be on the sideline today when the Packers open their preseason schedule against the Jets. He will practice for the first time Monday.