Dolphins Roundup 8/26/04
Compiled from a variety of sources throughout the day
- Retired running back Ricky Williams says he contacted the Miami Dolphins this week at the request of his agent but has no plans to rejoin the team anytime soon.
Williams didn't rule out a return but made it clear that given his contract and the state of the coaching staff, "It's not in my best interests to play football right now," he told The Miami Herald in a story published Wednesday night on the newspaper's Web site.
Williams has acknowledged testing positive for marijuana three times, which means he likely wouldn't be allowed to play this season, even if he decided to come out of retirement.
Williams is in Australia and said he plans to travel to India soon for a "couple of months." He said he contacted the Dolphins after they sent him a letter last week seeking repayment of $8.6 million by Monday.
"I didn't call them to see if I could come back. I was just causing a conversation to happen," Williams said. "They sent me the letter and (my agent) told me it's in my best interests to call them."
Asked if he was prepared to pay the money back or return to the team by Monday, Williams said, "That's really up to the Dolphins about the money. ... This whole thing gets crazier by the day."
Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, didn't return calls seeking comment. Coach Dave Wannstedt declined to comment.
"I'm only commenting about the players on our team," Wannstedt said.
Retirement papers Williams filed with the NFL last month aren't binding. But because he was in the league's substance abuse program, he can't return for one year without penalty. Williams has said he's a three-time offender in the program, meaning the penalty would be a suspension that would prohibit him from playing this season.
Williams, who led the NFL in rushing in 2002, stunned the Dolphins when he decided to retire a week before training camp started at age 27.
- Wide receiver Derrius Thompson, who started 12 games last season for the Dolphins and finished with 26 receptions, was moved to the fourth receiver spot with the acquisition of Marty Booker and Antonio Freeman during the past week.
Wannstedt said the Dolphins wanted to keep Freeman in the slot in all situations.
The original plan for the slot receiver was to have Chris Chambers or David Boston work there from time to time, but that has changed with the injury to Boston.
Said Wannstedt: ``Derrius and Marty Booker are working the same spot. Derrius knows both sides. We're trying to keep Antonio [in the slot] so he can zero in on one thing.''
- For the first time since filing his retirement papers with the NFL, ex-tailback Ricky Williams reached out to Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt earlier this week and is considering a comeback in the future, according to several NFL sources.
It is believed Williams raised the subject of returning to the Dolphins if they met specified conditions, including the renegotiation of his current contract, during a telephone conversation with Wannstedt.
A return in 2004 would be unlikely unless Williams were to register a favorable appeal to NFL Commissioner Paul Tabliabue. Because he was in the league's drug-testing program following three positive tests for marijuana, Williams automatically was credited with a fourth failed test when he filed retirement papers earlier this month. That means the automatic imposition of a year-long suspension.
Wannstedt was unavailable for comment Wednesday night. Williams' agent Leigh Steinberg did not return telephone messages seeking comment
Sources close to Williams say he has given countless reasons for his retirement, many of which are not related to football. But a few have related specifically to the Dolphins' situation.
These sources say he had several frustrations with the team, foremost among them his contract status. Williams' contract, which runs through 2006, was slated to pay him $3.74 million this season.
Sources also say Williams was bothered by the frequency he was used - an NFL-record 775 carries in a two-season span - and did not think that would change with the promotion of Chris Foerster to offensive coordinator after Joel Collier stepped down and returned to his post as running backs coach.
Williams, who was close to Collier, apparently believed there was a better chance for offensive diversification that would allow him to shoulder less of the burden if quarterbacks coach and passing specialist Marc Trestman was promoted instead of Foerster.
Last week, the Dolphins notified Williams that he needed to report to play or face the recoupment of $8.6 million in paid salary. The Dolphins, which included recoupment provisions in a restructured contract Williams agreed to in 2002, would have to repay $5.3 million in salary from the Dolphins and $3.3 million in signing bonus money he received from New Orleans in 1999.
- Offensive tackle Damion McIntosh worked out for a second consecutive day Wednesday, giving the Miami Dolphins hope he will be able to contribute early this season.
McIntosh, who has missed all of training camp with an ankle injury, went through 1-on-1 drills Tuesday and Wednesday. He is scheduled to be evaluated by a doctor this weekend, but there is no specific date for his return.
Coach Dave Wannstedt said McIntosh could be inserted into the starting lineup when healthy, maybe in place of left tackle Wade Smith.
``He's making great progress,'' Wannstedt said. ``It's big. You're talking about a starter, possibly a left tackle starter.''
The Dolphins felt so strongly about McIntosh's ability that the team gave the fifth-year veteran a six-year contract during the offseason, despite the possibility that he could miss significant time with the injury.
McIntosh played 12 games for San Diego in 2003, helping LaDainian Tomlinson run for 1,683 yards. The Chargers' offensive line also limited opponents to 24 sacks, the fifth-lowest total in the league.
Wade, a second-year player, realizes that he is at risk of losing his job after starting all 16 games as a rookie.
``I think everybody's up in the air right now,'' Wade said.
- The Miami Dolphins today waived DE Aaron Hunt, C Shawn Lynch, LB Kevin Mitchell, G Andy Wagstrom (pictured).
Hunt, signed by the Dolphins as a free agent on January 27, 2004, played in Miami's first two preseason games against Jacksonville (8/14) and Washington (8/21) and registered two tackles.
Lynch, who was signed to the Dolphins practice squad on September 29, 2003, and spent the final 13 weeks of the '03 season there, did not see action in Miami's first two preseason games. Shawn Lynch graduated from Wellington High in Palm Beach county.
Mitchell, who signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted college free agent on April 30, 2004, did not play in the Dolphins' first two preseason games.
Wagstrom, signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted college free agent on April 30, 2004, saw action in Miami's first preseason game against Jacksonville on August 14.
- Dolphins wide receiver/cornerback Bobby Sippio underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday.
The two-way Arena Football star had the procedure performed by team physician Dr. George Caldwell at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Sippio, who also had worked as a kick returner during recent practices, was second in the Rookie of the Year voting in the Arena League. He caught 75 passes for 1,218 yards and 32 touchdowns with the Dallas Desperados earlier this year.
- The starting offense is expected to play approximately three quarters Saturday night at Tampa Bay, although Wannstedt has said several times quarterback A.J. Feeley will get time with the first group after Jay Fiedler starts.
- Because of the threat of rain, the Dolphins moved practice up to noon Wednesday and will have it at 11:15 a.m. today.
Practices are closed to the public, but open to the media and special guests until the week before the season.
- WR Bryan Gilmore, acquired Tuesday off waivers from Arizona, joined the team.
- The Dolphins also waived offensive tackle Dan Goodspeed, who was replaced by Brad Bedell as the backup left tackle behind Wade Smith on Tuesday.
- TRAINING CAMP
• Today's schedule: Practice at Nova Southeastern University, 7500 SW 30th St., Davie. Workouts are closed to the public.
- INJURY REPORT
• CB Bobby Sippio (knee), S Shawn Wooden (back), RB Leonard Henry (quadriceps), CB Korey Banks (neck), G Eric Wilson (knee) and receiver David Boston (knee) did not practice; OT Damion McIntosh (ankle) was limited; LB Derrick Pope appeared to injure his hamstring early in practice; CB Todd Howard (knee), LB Winston Taylor (eye) and DT Jerome Stevens (ankle) returned.
- OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Receiver Terrence Wilkins was brought in to provide an upgrade to the team's return game. Thus far, Wilkins has been slowed by a hamstring injury and unable to show much. ''He practiced [Wednesday],'' coach Dave Wannstedt said. ``If he is healthy, he'll get a couple of punt returns and kickoff returns. The only reason he hasn't is because he hasn't been able to go full speed.''
- WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT?
• HOT: The team's weather-tracking system. Practice was moved up two hours to noon to avoid a storm. The move was made to avoid a repeat of Tuesday, when part of practice was rained out.
• NOT: Left tackle Dan Goodspeed, who entered camp as Wade Smith's backup at left tackle, was waived.
- QUOTE OF THE DAY
`I think it's good. I think it's a very serious morale from the standpoint that guys are positive. They know we have a lot of work to do. That's where we should be right now.'
-- DAVE WANNSTEDT, Dolphins coach, on the current state of the team's morale.
- RATING THE RECEIVERS
1. Chris Chambers: The unquestioned leader of the group.
2. Marty Booker: Acquired over the weekend, Booker split time with Derrius Thompson with the first group.
3. Antonio Freeman: The veteran received time in the slot during three-receiver packages.
4. Thompson: He worked on both sides and shared first-team reps.
5. Sam Simmons: He still favored his injured ankle but continues to go through drills without complaint.
6. Rex Hadnot: An offensive lineman, Hadnot actually ran a route or two during drills. Hadnot was positioned outside in place of a receiver just for alignment purposes, but it was still interesting to see the 323-pounder running routes.
By The Source
Aug 25, 2004
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