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Another PR black eye on the horizon? Maybe

It's been a long offseason for the Dolphins, one filled with more perceived flubs and miscues than last year's four-turnover afternoon at Buffalo.

Trying to be a postive, glass-half-full person, I guess I can look past the fumbled termination of Joey Porter's contract, which had other teams and agents snickering because it was proof someone on the Dolphins simply cannot do math.

Then there was the poorly strategized manner in which the Jason Taylor situation was handled and the failure to celebrate a free agency victory by holding a press conference when a player of Karlos Dansby's stature was signed.

I can even -- eventually -- move past the Dez Bryant "is your mother a prostitute" fiasco because folks have apologized, other folks have accepted the apology, and an internal investigation into the matter is underway.

We can get past all those errors -- assuming more errors aren't on the horizon.

But at least one more possible error in judgment will be unveiled as early as Friday.

On Friday the Dolphins will conduct a three-day rookie minicamp and right there, among the rookie linebackers, A.J. Edds will be on the field wearing No. 54 -- the number worn from 1996-2007 by Zach Thomas.

It must be noted that on its face this isn't a bad thing. The Dolphins have many linebackers on the roster and every number in the 50s including 54 has been assigned. The Dolphins have also held back No. 54 for two years until now. The number is not retired.

I also recall the Dolphins in the past gave away Mark Clayton's number the year after he left via free agency. Clayton was a great player like Thomas, although not as beloved by fans.

But none of that changes the fact that the timing of this is terrible. The context of giving out that number now is bad.

You see, Zach Thomas is one of the most beloved players ever to play for the Dolphins. He lived right, played hard, and gave the Dolphins everything he had (including some brain cells following a handful of concussions).

The guy is an all-timer down here.

But only a couple of weeks ago, Thomas took the Dolphins to task for their treatment of brother-in-law Jason Taylor. He did it publicly on the radio and in print interviews and it made people notice. When you've torqued off Zach Thomas, you've probably made a mistake.

Thomas also rolled back the curtain on his feelings regarding his own dismissal from the Dolphins years ago.

He talked about how all he wanted to do the day he got waived in 2008 was say good-bye to his fans by talking to the media at the team training facility in a press conference. The Dolphins did allow Thomas to make phone calls to various media from the facility but told him if he wanted to do a press conference, he'd have to do it elsewhere. Thomas obviously feels hurt by that to this day.

And he said as much in recent weeks.

Well, the awarding of No. 54 on the heels of the former player's comments looks bad. I'm sure it is pure coincidence. I know there were several internal conversations about this very subject in recent days going all the way up the ladder to include coach Tony Sparano.

But that doesn't change the fact that it looks bad.

The timing of this makes it look like retribution.

It looks like: You criticize us, we give away your number.

Edds wore No. 49 at Iowa. The Dolphins should have given him that number for this coming rookie mini-camp. They should have let him wear it through training camp. And if, if, Edds earned a spot on the roster after training camp, they could have changed his number into the 50s. After all, a couple of the numbers currently taken such as No. 59 (J.D. Folsom) and No. 57 (Brian Johnson) might or might not be around for the start of the regular-season anyway.

Edds Moreover, if the Dolphins absolutely needed to give Edds No. 54, they could have turned a potential flub into a touchdown if they wanted. They could have called Thomas in, let him sign a contract for a day, and promptly allowed him to retire a Dolphin. He could have then handed that No. 54 jersey to Edds, and gotten his farewell press conference in one fell swoop.

Is there anyone who thinks that would not have been a feel-good moment?

It would have sown seeds of good will. It would have diffused an issue that might leave a bad taste in the mouth of some fans during a time they're deciding whether or not to buy tickets for 2010. (It also would have saved me from having to write this post.)

The point is the Dolphins are lately showing they do not have clear vision about what some fans, the rest of the NFL, the NFLPA, the media, or their alumni are thinking. They seem to be somewhat out of touch in that regard.

Thankfully, none of this has to do with actual football. From a football standpoint these guys are nails. They got it right from A to Z.

But when you blow stuff like the JT saga, or this little No. 54 issue, or prostitutegate, it affects the way the football team is viewed and respected. And the respect and good name of the Miami Dolphins is very, very, very, very important.

It is sad that tomorrow when the rookie camp opens, some focus that should be on how great this draft class might be will veer toward why A.J. Edds is wearing Zach Thomas's jersey. That alone shows you it's a mistake.

None of this is rocket science. But how many perceived black eyes can folks take in one offseason?

[Evening update: The link to the roster on the Dolphins website above has been altered by the team. It orginally showed Edds having been awarded No. 54, Koa Misi wearing No. 55, and John Jerry wearing No. 74. But that roster has been changed out. The Dolphins took down the roster they had on their website that showed the numbers for Edds and all the other rookies and substituted this roster instead. I would say the team felt some pressure from folks seeing Edds wearing No. 54 before it was ready to announce the move. It is also possible the team, after consideration or reading this blog, might have changed its mind and not give Edds No. 54 tomorrow after all. Maybe the Dolphins don't have a desire to create more PR problems. We'll see tomorrow when the rookie minicamp kicks off.] 


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Jake Scott is the original #13 and helped Miami win Super Bowls so why wasn't his number retired?

amen to that!!

Are you on the payroll for Rex Ryan and Jerry Jones? Quit Bashing at every chance you get!
Zach Thomas was great! I agree... You usually retire the numbers of Superbowl winning Hall of Fame Players. My beloved Phins have nothing to show for the last 30 something years. I will not abandon my team. Get over this petty stuff Mando please. It's coming off as bashing at this point.


Go Phins!

My goodness. What is going on down there?


This is BS, you media people are out of control. Duper and Claytons #'s were given out the next season and you say they weren't loved ? BS, this is a media pile on, real fans should start to get angry at this.

Mando and the rest of people that agrees with him are morons. so what he wears num 54. a number is just a number just get over it. i don't see how they disrespecting him in anyway. please you guys a worse then middle school and high school girls all y'all do is gossip, and stir up stuff. yeah i understand Jeff was wrong for asking that, bit compare to the GM that ask Toby Gerheart how he feel about being a white Running back? how wrong is Jeff Ireland. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. so please STFU

I'm with you Mando. I understand JT. I can get past the prostitute deal. But why mess with Zach Thomas. Totally out of bounds.

Jake Scott's number wasn't given to Marino in the relatively immediate aftermath of Scott's leaving the team.

And as good as Scott was, he clearly does not occupy the place in Fins' legend, lore, history & the hearts of the Fans that Zach T does.

Besides, it's unfair to Edds to saddle him with the potential fan resentment that could result form this decision.

Finally, of course, this isn't a LONE odd/insulting/retribution decision -- its one in a growing string of many.

"TONE-DEAF," I thin, would be the kindest way to characterize what's gone on lately with Taylor, Zach, Smiley, Bryant, (No Press-conf for) Dansby, etc.

zzz. Zach was great, just because his number is not retired doesn't mean he will be forgotten. how about some actual football news...

This is exactly what this regime is trying to Exorcise. The demons a losing past, of coming close and not finishing. Too many visions of Marino, ZT, JT and B.Cox walking off the field in defeat when it matters. Enough of this 1972 stuff every single year. It's embarrassing being a Phin Fan in Cali always being capped on by Steeler, Cowboy, NE, fans etc. It usually goes "you guys ain't won sh*t since 1972". They pay respect to Shula and Marino maybe. Let the Tri-fecta build us a winner. A Superbowl winner.

Go Phins!

Fair article Armando. If Tony Sparano was given the choice of not giving out No. 54 and took it anyway, he should be held responsible for this.

For all the stupid stuff Steve Ross is doing to get fans to the stadium, all this stupid stuff is keeping them out.
I am a die hard Dolphins fan and I always will be but the JT and ZT stuff is very upsetting.
If they sign ZT to a one day contract Ill be a lot happier. Giving his number away is not a big deal. The team only had three retired numbers and I don't think ZT has earned that on a team with so many Hall of Famers.
But the one day contract and the handling of the Jason Taylor thing are big issues for me and a lot of the fans.

Also the Dez Bryant story should not even be a story at all, but if it means we have to over pay for free agents, I am not happy about that.

I hope the Dolphins read this blog and change their minds before tomorrow and give that eddie guy some other digits. I think I'm going to be sick.

You guys remember when JJ came here with both guns blazing about how Team History didn't mean squat to him, tradition didn't mean a thing, the Hell with Shula & the past?
How'd that work out?

What in the blue heck are you going on about mando? NON ISSUE. Zach is my 2nd favourite player ever but man, someone was going to wear it sooner or later. At least they didn't give it to a veteran retread. Edds looks a lot like Zach in the way he plays (at least in coverage ability, single game tackle record holder at Iowa) so instead of talking about how much of an honour it must be for the kid to wear the number, you take the angle that it is an insult? Mr. Edds is not going to like you very much, Mando.

I think you're blowing this WAY out of proportion, Mando. If anyone sees this as a black eye now, I'd argue it is due to YOU using your platform to make an issue of it. Enough.


Come on Mondo the number is not retired,its' not a big deal to give the number to the next player in line. He may do the number proud, give
the guy a chance. The other things you mentioned the fans don't care, at least I don't. Just Win baby (excuse me Mr. Davis). Thats what us dolfans want.

As I said the other day, I love this team, but they have had no class since Shula left.

I agree, retire #54! Zach Thomas deserves that.

Mandy, you're dead on. All of that stuff is legacy and history and respect, and we as fans, and them as players deserve to be done right...It's shameful

JT and Zach Thomas WILL make the HOF the first chance they get. Mark my words!

The number Story is truly a non-story. Yes the PR black eye about Dez Bryant "is your mother a prostitute" is valid because of the way he asked the question but there are questions about his mother that my cause a concern for GMs.

Should Charlie Anderson not wear #56 because That was John Offerdahl's number - come on truly a non-story.

Love Zack Thomas. But the media makes it more of a story than it really is. People should remember Zack thomas for the great player that he was. Not by a number. Forget the number deal. Give us some good dolphins news. Tired of all this negativity!!!!

I hope they put out #99 and #54 toilet paper.
You people are a joke, this has gotten to be more then silly.

Also, I think placing a 2 year moratorium on a number is honour enough. Let's all move on to bigger and better in the future, shall we?

The Dolphins are an institution, bigger than Ireland and Parcells, its all getting old...Tactless, A-list a-holes are the best way to describe this duo.

How about a get to know segment on-

The Draft Picks
Mike Nolan
Available or potential F/As
Update on Pennington, White, P. Turner
Ronnie Brown


Fine line between being a Homer Reporter and a Complete Basher. Objective Reporter?

Go Phins!

Life-long Dolphins fan who agrees that the front office is giving our team a horrible image. Your idea of letting Zach Thomas come in, sign a contract, retire as a Dolphin, and give his jersey to Edds is really, truly a brilliant PR idea. That's a win-win-win situation for Zach, Edds, and the team.

You know Armondo you guys just keep kicking Parcells/Ireland and eventually Tony.You know what will happen at the end of the year or before?Parcells is going to say you not what guys i think maybe we should just pack it in and to about 20 other teams that would welcome him and his staff with check book open and say welcome Bill.If S.Florida no longer wants you we certainly do.Then i give you 2 guesses on who the next g.m. will be.Ever heard of a guy named Carl Peterson?So you guys in the local media just keep this crap up and see what happens.

Dolphins are putting undo pressure on Edds by giving him 54 now. Doesn't need that type of crap on him. Mando is right.

Like "prostitute-gate" this is a non-issue if the media doesn't talk about it.

Most people wouldn't have noticed, and when they did might think..."hmm, look at that..he's got ZT's juersey"..then went about their day.

You're spraying gas on a fire Mando!

Some of you old-timers might remember our former equipment managwer, Bobby Monica.

Bobby didn't need for a number to be "retired." He simply would not give out, for several years anyway, the numbers of recently-gone great or very popular players, and no F-The-Past FO types overruled him.

Reading some of the responses, there are people one both sides. That means it has merit.

I fall on the side of not making the error. Give the rookie nobody ever heard of another number and this doesn't become an issue. Period.

are you auditioning to replace "Dear Abby" or what?

armando, I love your posts, but you got to stop bashing the organization, as it has been lately.

love ZT and JT, in fact one of all-time fav Phins is ZT. but until they decide to retire his number, there was going to be a chance that someone would wear it in the meantime.

Jake Scott is an all-time great and he, like Marino, wore 13. we've got to let this petty issues disrupt a successful off-season and look forward to a great 2010 season.

as for the dizzy bryant story, like colin cowherd said, "Big Boy Job, Big Boy Questions". if you can't this crap get the hell out. Ireland was obviously trying to gauge his reaction/demeanor. plus, has ANYONE shown/proven what the exact comment was? if not, move on.

Just wrong giving Zach's number now. Just wrong. Wait a while. Do what Mando says, give him the big hug and bring him back into the fold happy.

its just a number man chillout and you need to talk about the rookies that we gone have in camp thats what you need to be talking about what about the tight end we jus signed from montana talk about him good god man

So what? The number isn't even retired. Zach Thomas is my gave LB of all time but u gotta get over the number thing. A 3rd string TE has Mark Duper's number and your not complaining about that.


I wish I had a Sparkly Pony!

I wish I had a Sparkly Pony!

Mando is an idiot.. and all he does is bash the dolphins and does not ever bring any good productive information.. he needs to go work for the jets cause he obviously does not want to be here.. You are a loser Mando.. and take some constructive criticism every once in a while.. thanks for blocking me on twitter because you couldn't handle the heat.. Your obviously in the wrong line of work.. I'll go over to PBP to get some real dolphins news..


Man, cut us some slack. I know you need to work and I know you are the best Dolphins coverage there is, but sometimes you create such irrelevant controversies just to get your hits in the web, which leads to pressure towards the Phins' organization coming from the fans.

Be fair and intelligent ALWAYS.

Mando, you stirred up the ostriches that want everyone to keep their heads in the sand so we won't see all the stupid things that are happening.

Keep up the great work.

mando is 100% correct. we are lucky to have the local media point out the blunders of this regime. zach and JT needed to be respected because of their long history with the dolphins. they wanted to remain dolphins for life! we've got to respect our heroes; not trivialize them. by the way we never did get an explanation about matt roth. fans deserve more.

wow armando, another shot at the organization while it's down from it's own beat reporter. I think you were very happy when this story about Bryant came out. Even worse it's because you feel Ireland and cohorts have slighted you personally. Why do you consistantly write articles which feature yourself in at least one aspect of the pieces? Armando, you are a lot more transparent than you think. Stop bad mouthing the team. You will be lucky to ever get another interview with the team.

It's a shame as good as Parcells and his gang are, that they are so disconnected from the fan base and from having a rudimentary knowledge of PR and people communication skills.

fwiw for you fans out of the SoFla area......the local radioguys have already made this an issue, in interviews with players and with Edds himself.

This is so unfair to Edds that the rest of the issue is irrelevant.

This is one of the most ridiculous posts I've read. Last time I check, #54 is not retired. Where was the outrage when Duper's #85 was given to TE Ronnie Williams? Nat Moore was a Dolphin great and is a pillar of the South Florida community...yet many have worn #89 since Moore's dismissal. How about the uniform numbers of HOFers Paul Warfield, Larry Little, Nick Buoniconti, Dwight Stephenson, and Jim Langer? Joe Berger is currenlty wearing Bob Kuechenberg's #67...blasphemy!

I wonder what you're going to do Mando when they sign Adalius Thomas and give him #99.

Dear Tony Sparano:

Please change your mind on this. AJ Edds wearing 54 isn't worth the black eye.


Stretching here Mando, really stretching...

who's zach ?

People talk or type only to feel important, regardless of the issue. In society today it doesnt matter what is right only what sells and it doesnt matter what you do so long as you win.

Mando, don't worry about the Kool-Aid drinkers wanting you to cover stuff up for the trifecta.

They get some things right. They get things wrong. I want to know when that happens on both sides of the arguement.

Thanks for the good work.

I'm out here in Laker Land.

Retiring numbers on the rafters. Winner's numbers! Individual and "CHAMPIONSIP" accomplishments. In every era!

I love my Phins since 1973. I love ZT and JT but the only true unquestionable here in the last 30 years plus is #13.

Go Phins!

Wow. You fixed it.
Well let me live up to my part then: Your post on whether its ok to issue non-retired jersey numbers to new players is just ludicrous. Are you upset because Miami hasn't retired ZT's number? I loved Zach when he was a Dolphin, but what did he do to have his jersey retired? If the number isn't retired what do you expect the team to do? Skip over issuing the former jersey numbers of all popular players? That wouldn't leave many choices after just one season's worth of cuts and free agency. Parcells and crew don't care about any player they didn't develop so just get over it already. On a related note, I hear #19 is available now.



Armando, you obviously are very very bored and really have nothing to talk about. loved Z Thomas but he is no longer with the dolphins, who cares move on..

may I suggest a cooking class, miami dade community college has a very good program, or whales university?....it will do you good to get out of the house a little more often.

by the way, all of you that agree with this Moron armando should get your heads examine

All of your points are fair Mando. I wish the trifecta listened to what fans think more often. Keep up the good work.

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