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Ferguson signs despite substance suspension

The Dolphins have re-signed veteran nose tackle Jason Ferguson to a new contract today, despite the fact he is suspended the first eight games of the 2010 season.

Ferguson was suspended over the weekend for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

The intriguing part of all this is that Ferguson is still rehabilitating from quadricep surgery and will not be ready to play football until early September the earliest.

That raises the question whether Ferguson must wait until he is healthy to begin serving his suspension. The answer, an NFL spokesman told me today, is no. Ferguson's suspension will begin the first week of the season and carry for the eight games.

The signing of Ferguson obviously shows he wants to continue his career at 36-years-old. And it speaks to the lack of quality nose tackles on the free agent market. 

This contract insulates the Dolphins for having a veteran, experienced nose tackle on the roster the final eight games of the season when they might be making a playoff push. At the same time, the deal doesn't preclude that Miami find another nose tackle in the draft and find no need for Ferguson if that is the right call next October.

Terms of the contract are not yet available.

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