Dolphins Roundup 8/17/04
By The Source
Aug 17, 2004

- The Dolphins addressed their injury-riddled defensive backfield by signing free-agent journeyman cornerback Jimmy Wyrick Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Wyrick, a late-season roster addition by the Dolphins in 2003, will compete for a backup cornerback spot and a role on special teams. He played in four games for the Dolphins last season after replacing Jamar Fletcher, who suffered a broken forearm in late November.

Wyrick, 26, played four seasons as a reserve for the Detroit Lions, including the first seven games of 2003 before being released. He was signed by the Lions as an undrafted free agent from the University of Minnesota in 2000.

The Dolphins lost backup cornerbacks Alphonso Roundtree and Korey Banks during Saturday's 16-5 exhibition victory against Jacksonville.

- Dolphins receiver Ronald Bellamy is like that little kid in the crowd jumping to watch the parade before it passes him by.

In last Saturday's 16-5 exhibition victory over Jacksonville, Bellamy didn't let anything get past him as he jumped over several fallen teammates into what he hopes will be a prominent role in the Dolphins' injury-depleted receiving corps.

"Any time you make plays you catch their attention," said Bellamy, who had a team-high four catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. "Then they'll give you more opportunities."

Bellamy has run this route before. He was mired behind NFL-bound receivers Marquise Walker and David Terrell at the University of Michigan before earning a starting spot his junior season. Bellamy hauled in 67 career passes for 888 yards and nine touchdowns but went undrafted.

Bellamy was signed by the Dolphins as a free agent last year and spent 12 games on the developmental squad. He played this spring with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe.

Bellamy had gone virtually unnoticed in training camp until a string of injuries to receivers resulted in extended playing time against Jacksonville. A diving, one-handed 31-yard catch was especially impressive.

But he is hardly a lock to make the team. Wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan would like Bellamy to make those types of plays on a more regular basis.

- Reserve cornerback Korey Banks arrived at team headquarters wearing a neck brace after sustaining a "stinger" while tackling Jacksonville wide receiver Reggie Williams in the second quarter of Saturday's game. Banks was carted off the field after his upper torso connected with Williams' back.

"From a football standpoint, I'm like a little disappointed," said Banks, who originally feared that he was paralyzed. "From a personal standpoint, as long as I wasn't paralyzed, I could always come back."

Banks said his shoulders and neck were still sore and he will remain in a brace until at least Thursday.

Banks hopes to return by the final exhibition game Sept. 3 against New Orleans.

- The Miami Dolphins today signed nine�year veteran free agent wide receiver Antonio Freeman to a one�year contract.

The 32-year old Freeman has spent eight of his previous nine NFL seasons with Green Bay. He played with the Packers from 1995-2001, and again last year. Freeman was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. In his NFL career, Freeman has appeared in 132 regular season games, starting 91 of them. He has caught 477 passes for 7,251 yards and 61 touchdowns. Freeman had his most productive season in 1998 when he registered 84 receptions for an NFL-high 1,424 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl squad that year, marking the second of three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Freeman originally was a third-round draft choice of the Packers in 1995 (90th overall). He was released by Green Bay prior to the 2002 season before hooking on with Philadelphia, where he appeared in all 16 regular season games that year. He was re-signed by the Packers one game into the 2003 season.

Freeman was a four-year letterman (1991-94) at Virginia Tech, during which time he hauled in 121 passes for 2,207 yards and 22 touchdowns. Born May 27, 1972, Freeman is a native of Baltimore, Md., where he attended Polytechnic High School.

Freeman paid homage to his ex-teammate after signing with the Dolphins on Monday by choosing to wear No. 4.

"It was either a teen number or No. 4," said Freeman, who caught 463 passes while playing with Favre for eight of the past nine seasons in Green Bay. "Anyone who has followed my career knows No. 4 had a very significant impact on my career and the success I had."

Freeman will switch to a number in the 80s before the start of the regular season.

- Also on Monday, the team placed safety Chris Akins on injured reserve and waived/injured wide receiver Kendall Newson and cornerback Alphonso Roundtree. Roundtree, who also was targeted to return punts and be a special teams contributor, underwent surgery on his left ankle Sunday after breaking it returning a punt. His return this season is unlikely.

In addition, the club announced that it signed guard Greg Jerman to a one-year contract extension through the 2005 season.

- Antuan Edwards took first-team repetitions ahead of Arturo Freeman on Monday. Freeman, slated as the starter at free safety before training camp, took second-team snaps. Edwards is expected to start Saturday against Washington.

- WR Sam Simmons (hamstring), DT Dario Romero (leg), DT Tim Bowens (knee/back), OT Damion McIntosh (ankle), DB Todd Howard (ankle), DB Korey Banks (stinger), RB Leonard Henry (quad), S Shawn Wooden (back) and G Eric Wilson (knee) did not practice.

- Pro Player Stadium and the Boston Culinary Group will mass produce bags of ice each day over the next several days to be donated to assist the Hurricane Charley relief program. The Dolphins are collecting monetary donations as well, with drop off points at the team's training facility and at Gate 3 at Pro Player Stadium. The team will also accept donations at each gate during Saturday night's exhibition against Washington at Pro Player.

- The Dolphins currently have 88 players on the roster.

- The Dolphins practiced in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets Monday afternoon for approximately two hours.

- ex-Dolphins wide receiver Kendall Newson underwent successful surgery today to repair his left Achilles. The surgery was performed by University of Miami team physician Dr. John Uribe at Baptist Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables.

- Former Dolphin WR O.J. McDuffie attended practice Monday. He holds the Dolphins single season reception record with 90 in 1998. McDuffie, the teams first round draft pick in 1993, played with the Dolphins for nine seasons from 1993-2001.

- The winning raffle number from the afternoon session for a Vernon Carey autographed football was 169211.

Head Coach Dave Wannstedt (on the wide receiver position) � �We got (Antonio) Freeman here and everybody has seen that. We liked him when he worked out. He played last year and made a few plays. I think that once he learns the system, we�re hopeful and optimistic that he can be a contributor in some capacity. As far as everyone else, we just have to continue to practice. As always, we�re looking and if there were a possibility of someone else to add, we would cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, we have to coach the guys that are out here, we have guys that are working really hard to get better, and that�s what we�re going to do.�

WR Antonio Freeman (on joining the team and learning the Dolphins offensive system) �I feel good. It�s just a matter of me learning a different system now. I learned Spanish for nine years and now it�s just a matter of learning French. I�m very aware of the injury situation here. I just take it day-by-day. I want to try to learn a little each day and once I learn it I can put it all together and go out and play football. There�s not much fun when you are out there thinking, running and trying to make plays all at the same time. I think the coaching staff wants to make sure I have an understanding of what I�m doing, then I can apply it to my natural skills. Hopefully it won�t take long, but everything in life is a process. I just have to take it step-by-step and not get frustrated.�

Head Coach Dave Wannstedt (on Vernon Carey moving to right guard) � �I wanted to get a look at him and Rex (Hadnot) this week. Taylor Whitley deserves to be with the first group. Greg Jerman worked at tackle today behind John St. Clair. Billy Yates needs a little work at center. I wouldn�t want to do this the last week in the preseason. I thought that this was the week to do it. Let�s stick a couple of those guys in there and see how they practice and let them get some work. If something really grabs my attention then we might stick with it, and if it doesn�t, then we�ll move the guys back to where they were. At the least, I wanted to have a few days to take a look at them just to be sure.�

From the north, take I-95 South, while Dol-Fans coming from the south, should take I-95 North. Exit I-95 at I-595 West. Take I-595 West to the University Drive exit. Proceed off exit and turn left onto University Drive (going south) Go past four traffic lights, crossing S.W. 30th Street, and make a u-turn at the first crossover. Take the first right and follow spectator parking signs to the free public garage. If the garage is full, follow directions from Nova Public Safety.

Tues., Aug. 17
9:00 � 10:45 a.m.
7:00 � 9:00 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 18
4:15 � 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 19
9:00 � 10:45 a.m.
4:15 � 6:00 p.m.

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