Former starting quarterback Chad Pennington, now out for the season on injured reserve, is not closing the door on returning to the NFL, or the Dolphins for that matter, following what will be his third throwing shoulder surgery in the coming days.
Pennington, who does not discount that the injury could jeapardize his career, nonetheless plans to go through a rehabilitative process following the procedure. And if the process progresses successfully, Pennington is open to trying to resume his career.
"What I have to focus on is focus on preparing myself for surgery a third time," Pennington said. "And that's a battle in of itself. And then after the surgery, talk to with Dr. [James] Andrews and talk with our staff here to develop a plan to get back to get back to normal -- to be able to do everyday things, to be able to brush your teeth, brush your hair.
"And then after that, move into the athletic part of what I'm required to do as a professional athlete and professional quarterback. I'm going to take those steps ... and once I cross each bridge, I'll move on to the next one."
Pennington, unsigned beyond this season, is aware he might have played his final game for Miami. The Dolphins are moving on to youngster Chad Henne as their starter. But Pennington, who previously talked about staying with a team that gave him an opportunity to compete for a starting job, isn't closing the door on a return to Miami.
"I'm certainly not going to close the book," he said. "The book has been tried to be closed on me before and I kept it open. So I'm not going to close the book on myself. That would be doing a disservice to myself ... At the same time, as an athlete, you always feel like there's some unfinished business and you want to give yourself an opportunity to see what's going to happen.
"You guys have been around this league long enough to not put anyone out of a team's plans because you never know how things unfold," Pennington said. " We'll wait and see. I've enjoyed being here. I've enjoyed being around everyone in the organization."
Pennington said he will fly to Alabama Thursday and have surgery on his right shoulder. The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews. He confirmed he suffered a dislocated his right shoulder. That caused damage to the anterior capsule.
It will be Pennington's third shoulder surgery on his throwing shoulder.
As for new new starter Chad Henne, he is not lacking for confidence. He is convinced that making his first start against Buffalo on Sunday is an easier assignment than coming off the bench last week against San Diego.
"Oh, definitely," Henne said. "Anytime you get all the reps during practice, you prepare more, you're prepared as the starter. No doubt about it, you're going to be a lot better off during the week and more comfortable on Sunday."
The hope, some would say the expectation, is that because Henne has a stronger arm than Pennington, the Dolphins will be able to maximize Ted Ginn Jr. now on deep passes.
"We're just going to go after it like any other week," Henne responded to that idea. "If it presents itself out there, deep ball threat or they give us the coverage to attack it, we'll hook up a couple of times. But if it's not there, I have to be smart with the ball and realize it's covered and check the ball down.
"It's definitely out there and I think a lot of our receivers can go one on one with guys and get the ball out there."