A little background first: For years, Dolphins PR vice president Harvey Greene has had to find ways to cajole and convince players to speak with the media. That's because even as the NFL mandates its players cooperate with the media, some guys exercise their fundamental free speech right by, well, not speaking.
So Greene found that he could agree with certain stars to pick out one weekday in which they would make themselves available (in addition to game day). Players that otherwise didn't want to speak, or didn't want to be inundated with interview requests, or didn't want their study-weight lifting-lunch-film watching time stolen every day could compromise and talk on one day.
Zach Thomas used to talk on Thursdays. Jason Taylor used to talk on Wednesdays. Sam Madison used to talk on Thursday. Pat Surtain used to talk on Friday. Quarterbacks typically talk on Wednesday.
With no exception these guys had days because they were established stars and because if they didn't have days, they'd have a reporter wanting to talk to them practically every open locker room session. Imagine the braindrain of having to speak!
Anyway, most of the guys I just mentioned were good men, also. So if there was something important, something pressing that had to be handled on a day that was not their day to talk -- such as an injury or fine -- the players sometimes would bend their own day-to-talk agreement. They would talk.
But again, we're talking about stars. We're talking about established veterans. We're talking about guys who were so important to the team, if they didn't have interview limits, they would be inundated with requests. And again, even with these guys, there were understood exceptions.
And that brings me to Ernest Wilford.
Wilford, to quote Cam Cameron, is a Miami Dolphin. I had to say that because you might not know this fact from his 2008 production. Wilford has been inactive two of this season's five games and has been inconsequential in two other games in which he caught zero passes for zero yards.
So he has 1 catch for 15 yards this year. You've heard of the six-million dollar man? That's the six-million dollar catch.
Anyway, for some reason I cannot fathom, Ernest Wilford has an exclusive day to speak to the media. In fact, he and Chad Pennington are the only two players on this current team with days in which they speak and days in which they are off limits.
I can understand Pennington. He's the QB and has game-plan studying to do.
But Wilford? Are you kidding me?
Ronnie Brown talks whenever he's approached. Ricky Williams talks whenever he's approached. Vonnie Holliday talks whenever he's approached. Joey Porter talks whenever he's approached. No other underperforming player on the team has a day in which he cannot be approached ... except Wilford.
The troubling thing is this policy doesn't seem to be in effect to shield Wilford from an angry horde of reporters eager to extract venom from him. Rarely does anyone bother Wilford -- on his day or otherwise.
No, this policy reeks of Wilford acting big-time when he's not producing big-time. This policy is also insulating Wilford from questions about the direction of his season. So the guy that isn't separating from defensive backs can separate himself from questions like, "Why can't you get on the field, Ernest?" or "Why only one catch, Ernest?"
Colleague David Neal tried to ask Wilford some of those questions for this story he wrote in Saturday's newspaper and Wilford wanted no part of any interview.
"Today's Friday," Wilford said in declining.
And tomorrow's Sunday. That's game day. That's the day Dolphins players are expected to be in uniform and even perform. That's the day receivers that recently cashed a $6 million bonus check are expected to get their names in the stat book.
Anyway, we'll see if he's active Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. If not, it'll be another day Wilford will neither talk the talk nor walk the walk.