Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lemon re-signs; Taylor shines

Although the two sides were not able to come to an agreement on a long-term contract, the Dolphins re-signed QB Cleo Lemon to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million. That was the level at which he had been tendered as a restricted free agent. Assuming that the team would not keep both Daunte Culpepper and Trent Green (should he be acquired), Cleo has a very good chance of becoming the No. 2 QB on the depth chart. Although John Beck is the future at QB, he could benefit from not playing this year and learning as the team's third string QB. Lemon has been getting an extensive amount of work with the team's starting unit during offseason practices as Culpepper continues to rehab his knee. Those reps will provide some great experience for Lemon, making him a trustworthy backup.

* WR Ted Ginn is scheduled to report to Miami on June 7, which is one day before the team's next minicamp begins. Although it's uncertain to what extent he will work with the team due to a lingering foot injury, he has been given a playbook so that he can begin to learn the offense. He will miss this week's Organized Coaching Sessions for rookies.

* The Dolphins are considering holding joint preseason practices with the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

* The team hasn't started contract negotiations with QB John Beck, C Samson Satele, or G Drew Mormino. Mormino's agent is still on his honeymoon, but the agents for Beck and Satele said they do not anticipate any problems regarding contracts. Miami has reportedly made a contract offer to DT Paul Soliai. The agent for Ted Ginn does not comment on contract negotiations.


Jason Taylor has proven once again that he is the cream of the crop when it comes to being a true team player. If anyone needed any further proof of his amazing character and devotion to the Miami Dolphins organization, he provided it during a radio interview on 760-AM ESPN. Go here to see a transcript of the interview. Here are some choice quotes:

When asked if he would play for free if that meant the Dolphins would make it to the Super Bowl:
"Playoffs, no, Super Bowl, yes. I’ve been to the playoffs before, our goal is not to make the playoffs, it’s to win the Super Bowl. [Our goal is] not to win 10 games or make the first round of the playoffs and see what happens."
Then, when asked if he would leave the Dolphins to try and win a Super Bowl elsewhere, he said:
"It doesn’t cross my mind. There are no guarantees in the league and to leave the team you [entered the league] with and chase Super Bowl dreams somewhere else, there’s no guarantee another team’s going to make it. It can turn around here; New Orleans turned it around quickly last year and was 30 minutes away from the big game. If I made the playoffs somewhere else there would always be a piece of me that felt empty, for not having a chance to do it here for the fans. The way I’ve been received by the community, I would always have a void for not being able to turn it around and get it back to where it’s supposed to be for our football franchise."
That kind of attitude just has to make you feel good as a fan. Too often in this day and age of the NFL, players are too willing to leave behind the team that drafted them in order to chase the big free agent dollars elsewhere. A situation like this makes me think about Adewale Ogunleye, who Miami traded to Chicago after a deal was unable to be reached on a long-term contract. Ogunleye was a promising young talent who demanded more money than the team was willing to give him. I wanted him to show his loyalty to the organization that signed him as an undrafted free agent with a torn-up knee. The Dolphins took a chance on him and rehabbed his knee, but then he recorded 15 sacks and made the Pro Bowl and he cashed in.

There's something to be said for a player who maintains their loyalty to the team that took a chance and drafted them out of college - even when that team is struggling to even be average and doesn't appear close to a championship. It's even more special that a player chooses to stick by his team through thick and thin when that player is currently in the twilight of his career (even though he's playing like he's in his prime). It would mean more to Jason to retire a Dolphin than win a Super Bowl somewhere else. That is a true team player.

He also took the opportunity to defend Daunte Culpepper, something I think he should be applauded for:
"Daunte Culpepper is my quarterback, Cleo Lemon is my quarterback and [John] Beck is my quarterback. Daunte has received a lot of bad press and he doesn’t deserve it. People are free to write and say what they want, but at the banquet I was in a position to stand up for the man. I see how hard he works and how bad he wants to come back and be successful. I’ve seen stuff in the papers and heard people on the radio say he’s not showing up for workouts, he’s missing rehab, he’s gaining weight, he’s not working hard and a bunch of other crap that couldn’t be further from the truth."
Something that a lot of fans are forgetting amongst all the Trent Green talk is that Culpepper is the guy who is actually a Dolphin right now. No matter what the chances are that Green will eventually get here or that Culpepper will be released, Daunte is rehabbing every day and wearing aqua and orange while doing it. He deserves the support of the fan base and his teammates as long as he is giving everything he has to this organization. It's great to see one of the team leaders stand up and defend Daunte.

Yet again, Jason Taylor gives Dolphans everywhere a perfect reason to feel pride in this team.

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