Weekend Dolphins Roundup 8/8/04
By The Source
Aug 8, 2004
Compiled from a variety of sources
-Rick Spielman declined to say whether the Dolphins would have to relinquish the conditional sixth-round pick they traded for the rights to David Boston, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
One source said Miami will lose the pick. That would mean Miami would be down to five picks in 2005, having already traded their No. 2 pick for quarterback A.J. Feeley. That makes trades for running backs or wide receivers problematic, Spielman said.
-While the Miami Dolphins likely will fill the starting spot opened up by the season-ending knee injury to David Boston from the current roster, ESPN.com has learned the team will work out at least two free agent wide receivers next week in an attempt to bolster the depth chart.
Antonio Freeman, who has played in 132 games and started 91 in nine seasons, is scheduled to audition for the Dolphins, probably on Tuesday. The team will also bring in journeyman Martay Jenkins.
Freeman, 32, played his first seven seasons with Green Bay, moved on to Philadelphia in 2002, then re-signed with the Packers last season. The former Virginia Tech star, once one of the NFL's most dependable and feared playmakers, has made 477 receptions for 7,251 yards and 61 touchdowns.
He has six seasons of 50-plus catches and three years with more than 1,000 receiving yards. But since originally departing the Packers after the 2001 campaign, when he was cut for salary cap considerations, Freeman has made only 60 catches for 741 yards and four touchdowns in 31 appearances.
Even with his blunted numbers the past two seasons, Freeman's average of a touchdown catch every 7.8 receptions is one of the best in the NFL during the past two decades. Freeman, who has been working out at home, typically keeps himself in top shape and has always been a positive locker room presence.
Jenkins, 29, is a five-year veteran who has 70 catches for 987 yards and four scores, mostly with the Arizona Cardinals. He played three games for the Cardinals last season when injuries decimated the wideout corps, but didn't make a catch.
Noted for his deep speed but sometimes inconsistent hands, Jenkins has been a very good kickoff return man but never a full-time starter at receiver. He was released by the Denver Broncos at the outset of training camp.
Barring a major transaction -- and team officials indicated here Saturday that they do not plan at present to seek a trade for a high-profile receiver -- the Dolphins will elevate five-year veteran Derrius Thompson's into Boston's spot.
Thompson signed with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent last summer. He started 12 of 16 games in 2003 and had 26 catches for 359 yards and no touchdowns.
-The Dolphins want payback from Ricky Williams. Literally.
An angry Wayne Huizenga will try to recoup more than $5 million paid in incentive money to the retired Williams over the last two years, a source close to the Dolphins owner told the Miami Herald on Saturday.
''Wayne is incredibly [angry] about what Ricky did,'' the source told the newspaper. "He has his lawyers together, and he's going after all the money the team paid Ricky. He wants to make sure this never happens again."
Huizenga could not be reached for comment by the newspaper.
Last month, Williams suddenly retired after five seasons in the NFL, stunning the Dolphins and the league. The Dolphins now have to try to figure out how to replace Williams' 1,372 rushing yards of last season. To make matters worse, the Dolphins lost receiver David Boston earlier this month with a knee injury.
Under the conditions of the revised contract Williams signed before the 2002 season, the Dolphins can seek reimbursement of any incentives he earned if he retired early or held out.
Williams earned approximately $5.3 million in incentives from the Dolphins during the past two years.
Before he filed retirement paperwork with the NFL, Williams talked about filing for bankruptcy and letting the team come after the money in court. He said coming after a man with three children might be embarrassing to the team.
-Dolphins safety Chris Akins suffered a knee injury during the controlled scrimmage which concluded two days of practice sessions against the Texans in Houston.
“He was a core special teams guy," Dolphins Head Coach Dave Wannstedt said. "The number one reason we signed Chris was that we felt that he was really the top special teams players at his position out there. We went after him aggressively and he was doing a better job at safety and the nickel and dime than what we had anticipated. Depending on what the outcome of that is, it will affect us a little bit back there and we’ll have to make some adjustments. We’re probably going to have to add a guy or two in the secondary.”
Akins was the second Dolphins player to suffer a knee injury during the joint practice sessions as Pro Bowl wide receiver David Boston suffered an injury to the left patella tendon in his knee during the team's afternoon practice Friday in Houston.
Preparing for a scrimmage Saturday against the Texans, Boston's left knee appeared to buckle from under him without contact. With his knee heavily wrapped, he was taken off the field on a cart.
Coupled with the back injury to Shawn Wooden, the Dolphins are down to four healthy veteran safeties: Sammy Knight, Arturo Freeman, Antuan Edwards and Yeremiah Bell.
To call Bell a ''veteran'' is a stretch, though. He spent most of last season on injured reserve with a foot injury and didn't play.
As for Wooden, he has decided to put off surgery for now and will rest. He has a bulging disk in his lower back and has already had one surgery on his back from college.
-Carey may get shot at guard by default
Vernon Carey might not be competing to start at right tackle much longer.
Coach Dave Wannstedt said Friday morning that he would consider shifting Carey to right guard if Greg Jerman or Taylor Whitley don't improve their play and John St. Clair proves he can handle being the first-team right tackle.
"Right now, we wouldn't do it because we want [Carey] to learn to play tackle," Wannstedt said after the Dolphins' first joint practice against the Houston Texans. "But there is a possibility two or three weeks from now that if Vernon excels and keeps going that we may move him to guard if he were one of our five best linemen."
Jerman currently is starting at right guard, with Whitley serving as backup. But Wannstedt said he is concerned about the pass protection being provided at the position, which was manned by the released Todd Perry the past three seasons.
Carey, who was selected in the first round of April's draft, said he had no problem making the transition. Carey played guard and tackle during his football career at the University of Miami.
"They brought me in to play on the line," said Carey, who is working as St. Clair's backup. "If the guy at right tackle is doing good, I've got to adapt to whatever situation they put me in."
Wannstedt said a contributing factor to Carey's fate would be the health of tackle Damion McIntosh, who is on the active/physically unable to perform list while recovering from ankle surgery.
Wannstedt said McIntosh, who met Friday with the Houston-based surgeon who repaired his torn ligaments, could be practicing at full speed within four to six weeks.
"It's almost there," McIntosh said of his ankle. "It's not quite normal the way I had it before the injury, but it's a lot better than a couple of months ago. I don't think it's going to be that long."
The Dolphins continued their annual hazing of rookie linemen by handing out bizarrely designed haircuts in a Thursday night chop party.
Sporting Mohawks, half-trimmed goatees, `old-man comb-over' 'dos and chopped up scalps were linemen Carey, Tony Pape, Rex Hadnot and tight end Hart Turner.
Long snapper/tight end Ed Perry and resident barber was the main hatchet man. Hadnot, who attended the University of Houston, pleaded for mercy.
"It's tic-tac-toe with a little bit of Michael Irvin," was Hadnot's description of his mutilated pate. "[Perry] used clippers with a blindfold. I heard rumors, but I'm not one to believe rumors until it actually happens so now I have to try and cope with it the best I can."
Hadnot and several other rookies didn't have to cope for too long as most shaved their heads clean by the afternoon practice because Wannstedt wasn't amused.
"I guess it's become a tradition," Wannstedt said. "I told them to clean it up, I can't stand to look at those guys like that, so they better have it cleaned up by [today]."
GM Rick Spielman and Drew Rosenhaus, agent for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, had a long huddle in-between the practice fields at the Texans facility to try to hammer out a contract extension and end the weeklong holdout.
"That's one of the sticking points," Spielman said, regarding the structuring of the long-term deal.
Meanwhile, free-agent center/guard Pete Kendall, who was released Monday by Arizona, was snagged by the Jets on Friday. Spielman had said Kendall was "probably out of our price range with what they're trying to get."
Reserve tight end John Jones was fined $1,000 for missing the team flight Thursday, as per the collective bargaining agreement.
Jones, who has been criticized by Wannstedt for being out of shape, said he drove to the wrong airport. The 6-4, 260-pound Ohio native has struggled with the South Florida heat and is sliding down the depth chart.
"That's all part of it, knowing where to be and being on time," Wannstedt said. "He's got to pick his game up and get in great shape."
Wannstedt said Donald Lee and Perry are capable of backing up Randy McMichael if Jones doesn't "catch up."
-Jenkins Sr. improving
Robert Jenkins Sr., the father of linebacker Corey Jenkins, is recovering from surgery after being shot in the leg by a "family friend.'' He may not have to get his leg amputated as originally thought.
"He's breathing on his own," Corey Jenkins said. "It's slowed me down a little bit out there when I think about it, but knowing him, he'd want me to go full out."
Jenkins said the alleged gunman has had drug problems and shot his father over a "jealousy issue, basically something stupid."
-What's in a name?
Wearing the name Butkus on the back of your jersey can be a burden as well as a blessing, according to Texans center Luke Butkus, nephew of Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.
"How do you think getting that every day of my life is," said Butkus, 25, who was originally signed by the Bears out of Illinois in 2002 but has yet to make an NFL squad. "I love him, but I can't live up to that.
"I play hard and physical like he does, but who doesn't? I have a different style, plus I play offense.
"He wasn't smart enough to play offense," Butkus said, smiling.
-More front office news
Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said the price for offensive lineman Pete Kendall was ''too high'' for the team.
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