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Pennington future not decided until March

On the same day the Dolphins will board their flight for Charlotte to meet up with the Carolina Panthers, former starting QB Chad Pennington will be on his way to Birmingham, Ala. to see his doctor.

Pennington said Tuesday he has completed the first phase of his rehabilitation from season-ending shoulder surgery -- his third such surgery -- and now must map out a recovery program for the next six weeks.

At this stage, Pennington said, he's not certain he'll play again. He might not make that decision until March. But regardless of what that decision is, the chances of him playing for the Dolphins again are quite slim.

The Dolphins, you see, are moving on. They have a starter in Chad Henne. They have committed time (this entire season) and resources (a second-round pick) on making backup Pat White a success. They also have Tyler Thigpen under contract.

So where does that leave room for Pennington?

It doesn't look, at this point, like it really does.

Obviously, it is way early to make a call on this, but if Pennington decides he wants to play again, he will almost certainly want a chance to compete for a starting job and be ready to settle in as the backup if he loses the competition.

Well, the Dolphins have a starter in Henne and definitely don't want a competition that might have the potential to split the locker room with one side backing the youngster and the other backing Pennington. So that's not an option.

I suppose if Pennington is willing, he can come in to compete with White for the backup job as long as everyone -- including the public -- is aware the fight is for No. 2. But it's hard to fathom Pennington, being the competitor he is, wanting to do that. 

I know that isn't the Hollywood script that Pennington's career should follow at this stage. It's not what should happen to the good guy that Pennington is. And if you measure the appreciation and respect the Dolphins have for Pennington, one has to figure he would get another chance in Miami.

But professional football is a business, not an admiration society. So ...

The Dolphins cannot, and will not commit to anything.

“We all know the business, we understand that there’s a part of the business that sometimes gives you what you want or doesn’t give you what you want in some of those situations," coach Tony Sparano said. "I will say this, I would miss the guy a bunch, I really like Chad Pennington being here. He’s a tremendous leader, he’s great for our young players, great. But more importantly, this is a guy that every player on the team voted for for captain. Not one player did not vote for this guy.”

That's all very well and lovely. But all that hasn't kept Sparano himself from treating Pennington no differently than he treats other players that are out for the year. Pennington is welcome and encouraged to rehabilitate at Dolphins camp every morning. He is welcome and encouraged to continue leading through conversations with younger teammates -- I witnessed one such conversation between Pennington and Davone Bess on Monday.

But Pennington is not allowed to travel with the Dolphins on road games. And he is not welcome to be on the Land Shark Stadium sideline on game days. That's the rule for everyone else and it is the rule for Pennington.

“It is something I have really wrestled with a little bit, to be honest with you," Sparano said, "but I don’t think so right now. Consistency is important in that decision right now. There have been some other injured players that I have not let down there and it is just part of my philosophy that is not a good thing to do. Just part of my philosophy that it is not a good thing to do.”

Basically, Sparano doesn't want players in other players' ears. He wants active players to be listening to coaches. He does not want the message to be filtered or altered or somehow changed. It makes sense, really.

“Sometimes it can be a distraction," Sparano. "In [Pennington’s] case, he has great knowledge, but sometimes that is not the case. It depends on the player, it depends on the position, it depends on any of those things.

"But rather than have six set of rules, there is just one rule. The players understand it. I think for the most part they respect it. In a lot of situations it doesn’t pay to travel the guys that are injured. You leave them back here, you let them get a little bit extra treatment, get some of those things. There are a just a bunch of things that go into it and that is what I am used to.”

I think it's the right call. I think one does not make exceptions for one player over another. Sure, Pennington would probably be of great help to Chad Henne, imparting experience and so forth.

But Miami's rookie corners could similarly argue that Will Allen should be allowed on the sideline to impart his experience. And then the tight ends might want David Martin imparting his experience. And pretty soon the sideline has a lot of chiefs and not enough indians.

Sparano is doing the right thing. And Pennington isn't complaining about not being on the sideline now. Whether he'll ever be on a Dolphins sideline again, well, that's another matter.


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Ive already contacted Oliver stone about this conspiracy, Ive also tried to contact Michael Moore, though he's currently filming a anti-GOP piece, maybe he can put down his left-wing garbage and pursue something of real interest such as the conspiracy involving Roger Goodall and his love interest Bill(film in hand)belichick...

Well, he's no...I can't remember his name that we had, then the Pats had, now the Jets have...LB...It has to be more than that...

seriously? hahaha! talk about your alltime load mouth crybabys!!! even though it looks as if i have to actually root for those candy a's this week

Is rex bi-polar or Bi-sexual???

Jason allen is great ST PLAYER. He's down there for almost every big time stop on ST. He led the team or tied last year in st tackles and i think he leads the team this year.

Thanks Jersey...That guy...HE was a ST Demon...

Jets winning would be nice, but, I think NE's gonna have a chip...

NJ, whats your thoughts on tommarrow nites game??

Yeah, but his rookie contract was quite large from what I recall. Would they keep him at that premium for ST tackles? My point is I STILL think there's some untappen potential there. I don't recall him being that atrocious when thrown in the game this year, or years past.

Is rex bi-polar or Bi-sexual???

Posted by: cuban menace | November 18, 2009 at 03:00 PM

Again, excuse me if I sound like Ted(duh)Ginn at a press conference, but the warrior in me say: BOTH!!!!

Marc. I also think he still has some potential to go along with his great ST play. Don't forget that will allen got hurt in the middle of the season and might not be ready for the start of next years ( first 6 games ? ) . Miami will need allen. Allen signed a 6 year deal back in 2006. He's not a free agent.


I hope you all don't take this past week for granted. It was truly special.
All the AFC teams that we hoped would lose lost.
Belicheat and Brady make an awesome blunder on national TV.
Then Crybaby Rex cries to his team and hopes Parcell's might give him some advice. Un-F'ing-Real.
If I were Parcell's, I'd tell him to dry his beady little eyes, bend over, and take it like a man!
4-5 aside, this has been a great week to be Dolphins fan.

Hmm...So Brown got a shorter contract even though he was #2...Odd...I thought to first 10 almost always got 6 yr deals...Guess I don't know jack

Maybe so Odin, but, if we were to win out, or win the division, that's like winning a NASCAR race because other cars broke down. Not real glorifying

Brown out for season? PFT


Marc . in a way brown did sign a 6 year deal. Brown signed a 5 years deal with a option for a 6th at 5 mil. If there's no new cba this year , then that option kicks in next year making him restricted. If there IS a new cba , he's a free agent. I expected the bad news on brown . This will lower his value on the open market.


Decent article..Favorite quote by JT "I'm not 25 anymore"...Jason, you're not 30 anymore!

I got that NJ...Maybe my years are just off...I swore we drafted Brown before Allen...Anyway, whatever the case may be this injury not only hurts his open market value, it might persuade the Tuna to let him go...

Allen before Brown

Maybe so Odin, but, if we were to win out, or win the division, that's like winning a NASCAR race because other cars broke down. Not real glorifying

Posted by: Marc | November 18, 2009 at 03:24 PM

This is war home skillet not Madden!

I can just see two Viet Nam veterens in the
trenches saying hey lets not kill those guys that are trying to kill us, I think their guns are jammed and it wouldn't be glorifying.

Grow a pair, and realize The Jets beat the pats. We beat the Jets twice. Then we lose to the Pats. Where's the broke down race car in this? It's called any given Sunday. It's not about breakdowns, it's about giving credit to the teams that get the W. This week everything went our way.
Ultimately, I don't care how we get there, as long as we get there!!!!

No more Pennington. He served his purpose. We must continue to move on.

Thank you, Armando, for addressing my questions about Pennington. Personally, I don't see having Pennington on the sidelines as "making an exception for one player" but rathergetting one of the things you're already paying his salary for--leadership, experience, his ability to mentor and develop the young QBs, etc. The solutoion would appear simple: if you want all your mentors/coaches singing the same song...if you want the advice and direction to be one collective voice, that of the coaches
... Make him a coach.
...perhaps even a player-coach (if he can compete at some point). It isn't like it has never been done before.
; )

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