The start of the NFL season goes from strange to stranger for the Miami Dolphins, as it was revealed Sunday that linebacker Lawrence Timmons, a high-powered free-agent acquisition from the Steelers this summer, had gone missing from the team camp this weekend and, although reported safe and well, would play no part in the Fins’ opening game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The team is starting its season a week late in any case after Hurricane Irma caused the postponement of their home game against Tampa Bay. This in turn means that the Dolphins will not have their scheduled bye week as the chosen slot for their mid-season break has now been taken by the rescheduled game against the Bucs. As a curious side issue, thanks to the decision to move their next “home” game – against the Saints – to London, the Dolphins won’t play in front of their home fans until Week Five. As preparations go, it’s not ideal.
As for the reason for Timmons’ absence, at this point little is known. He’s not injured, at least officially, and Dolphins beat reporter at the Miami Herald Armando Salguero reported that he has not run into any legal difficulties. All we do know, per the same journalist, is that “something angered” Timmons and he is listed inactive for the game in LA. The issue is understood to be personal and not team-related, according to the Miami Herald, but the end result is that Timmons does not play this weekend.
Undrafted rookie Chase Allen, whose productive training camp allowed him to make the 53-man squad, steps in in his place. Great chance for Allen to make an impact, but it’s fair to say he’d likely have preferred different circumstances under which to make it.
Although always unlikely to make the step up from wild card team in 2016 to winning the division (the Patriots, despite an unexpected opening-night home defeat by the Chiefs, seem cemented there until Tom Brady’s arm starts failing or Bill Belichick retires or both), the Dolphins seemed to have recruited well in the off-season and were hoping to improve on last year’s 10-6 record. Training camp and pre-season then took an immense toll on their lineup, with starters QB Ryan Tannehill, CB Tony Lippett and likely starter, rookie ILB Raekwon McMillan all suffering season-ending injuries before Week One.
Add to that an injury that could keep starting guard Ted Larsen out indefinitely, and this is a season in which the Dolphins will be hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Adding headaches to the list isn’t what they’re after, which is why it’s fair to imagine the front office will be furious with Timmons.
Already five-point underdogs against a tough Chargers side led by a blue-chip quarterback in Philip Rivers, they’ll really be hoping that they can escape LA without anything else going wrong. Salt met wound this week when, according to NFL.com, Chargers LB Melvin Ingram stated that Tannehill’s replacement Jay Cutler would pose his defense no problems.
Famous last words? Probably not, knowing the 2017 Miami Dolphins’ luck.
[Featured Image by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]