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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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I think all this is crazy talk. If they didn't care about the fans, then they wouldn't be putting a winning team together. The fans want a winner. That sells tickets, not what number some rookie is wearing during rookie camp. These guys like everything to be uniform. If the linebacker numbers are in the 50s then why would they give him 49. Everything with these guys is precise. If you start making exceptions on things then were does it stop. As for the hand off, I don't see Michael Irvin coming in to hand off his number to Dez Bryant. The JT situation is what it is, we don't know what would have happened if he just waited until after the draft. We didn't know Randy Starks was moving to NT until after we picked our guy at 28. So just relax, take a deep breath and quit screaming that the sky is falling for every single move these guys make or don't make.

Up at night,

Shula said in the America's game series that someone on the sideline, some idiot as I recall him saying, convinced him to do it. With a 14-0 lead he knew they could score the TD. However, someone said wait, wouldn't it be awesome to kick a FG, and finish 17-0 with a win of 17-0. I found that very interesting. Shula was not happy obviously with how that FG turned out.

Quit piling on, media!

The Cowboys gave Dez Bryant #88.....MICHAEL IRVIN"S NUMBER!!!

No big deal...it happens all the time.

It's a number! So what??? If they retire it eventually fine.......if not, well, I guess I'd be disappointed that they didn't retire Zach's number. But for now, it isn't retired!

I think Dolphins fans that are crying about all this stuff need to go back to their tea parties and keep playing with the barbies. F'ING SISSIES. WAHHHH!! He hurted his wittle feewlings. Booh freaking hoo.

Mando,

You are one of my favorite reports of Dolphins news. However, I am very dissapointed in the way you have covered the team the past few weeks. Zack Thomas and Jason Taylor were pro bowlers for several years when the Dolphins were mediocre. That's it, they were not first ballot hall of famers or champions. So let's stop complaining because they are not being pampered by the new regime. They are both millionairs because of Dolphin fans, JT and Zack should be happy with that. Second, this off season brought Dansby and Marshall. Jeff Ireland and company has turned a 1-15 joke of a team to playoff contenders in 3 years. Let's concentrate on the positives instead of highlighting a few minor mistakes.

Mando get off it. This is a non story if you really want to read into this then the trifecta is telling Zach to butt out of their affairs.It comes down to brass tacks number was available kid needed a number don't read between the lines like a Mando douche.

Q. What do you tell Zach Thomas when he comes up to you after the game with two black eyes?

A. Nothin to say I already done told the punk twice.

Man up!! Do you think Dick Butkus would be crying about this kind of stuff.

Trifecta giving #54 to A.J. Edds

What does that mean?

Answer: Zach, go f#ck yourself.

Trifeta out.
-----------------------------------------------
You can give these guys a 'black eye' - but they always punch back. Guaranteed.

Can we please get some football news? This is better than Omar's the NFL is racist crap, but c'mon.

Zach Thomas will get nothing and he will like it! Booyah!!!

We need to get Dr.Phils opinion on this.

i totally agree with what everyone has said......and i mean EVERYONE!

Martin,

You're right. If this were my blog, I'd probably not have written this. Maybe a quick tweet, and be done with it. And by the way, Mando's written about all those topics you discussed. I should have qualified myself and said that there's not ENOUGH to write about (so that's why this story makes it to the front burner). If this was pre-season, it would have been passed over IMO.

F.O. = F * c k off (fans)

Excellent article. Period.

GET Over it, its a number one that just so happen IS NOT RETIRED I dont care who wears it

Sounds like Sonny is an a**hole anyway, or else why would Mando block you on twitter (when he tells us to join his page like a million times a day). Go cry somewhere else you damned baby!

Posted by: DC Dolfan | April 29, 2010 at 01:21 PM

DC some of these fools are the same ones who say Ireland was doing his job and want to cut him slack. Well the truth could be said about Armando, he was doing his job.

Fair article Armando.

ace.shut up .

Any thing else going on in Dolphinville,cause this Entertainment Tonight stuff is getting old.

"I think all this is crazy talk. If they didn't care about the fans, then they wouldn't be putting a winning team together."

Posted by: Epp | April 29, 2010 at 01:58 PM

Um, they were 7-9 last year playa. That ain't no winning team they putting together.

UPDATE!

Brian Billick who by the way coached Ray Lewis just SQUASHED the whole Dez Bryant thing on Mike & Mike in the Morning ESPN. You should get his take.

He also said what I have been saying. Right or wrong this was done in a private setting. It was the stupid ass reporter trying to keep Yahoo Sports relevant that broadcast this crap all over the planet.

Go Phins

Billbill thank you my friend. Where did you get the name billbill? The name sounds like a RETARD!

Jdatkinson1 is also beerndrums,so don't freak out.

How the hell are we going to field a team that can beat the jets, pats and Saints if were worrying about non- issues like this?

Oh Parcell's has no communication Skills wha wha wha.
Ireland is a big jerk, blah blah blah.
The FO should take the fans "FEELINGS" into consideration and kiss JT and Zach's a s s e s all the way to another team.
I don't want a bunch of politically correct talking heads RUNNING my FOOTBALL TEAM.
This is PRO FOOTBALL people. 95% of what we do is knocking the snot out of somebody.
I would have absolutely loved to have read the headline: Dez Bryant knocks the snot out of Ireland for pointed question.
When we used to play ball in my neighborhood, the little sissy boys had to stay on the sidewalks. It's a good thing your staying behind that keyboard Armando!

YOU JUST DON´T MESS WITH ZACH THOMAS!!! YOU JUST DON´T!!!

Armando,
You seem like you are burning out in your job. This is the type of writing we saw from Omar before he needed to take a step back for a month or so. I have been noticing this tone in your column for about 3+months. I have enjoyed reading your material in the past, but I haven't liked the tone recently. Please write some neutral or positive articles instead of bashing the team. Kind regards.

Ody is mad because he had tom stay on the sidewalk.

meant to say to not tom

Zach Thomas has more tackles than any linebacker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, currently ranking fourth all-time behind Randy Gradishar, Jessie Tuggle and Junior Seau.

That's not elite of elite?

7x pro bowler. That's not elite?

Plain and simple here Armando...these three guys are jackasses...especially the main jackass that hides behind the scenes.

Although like you said, the football side is in good hands, these idiots dont realize that to the fans and this community, the Dolphins are about much more than just wins or losses. This has ALWAYS been one of the elite franchises in the NFL, with its storied past, and legends like Csonka, Griese, Warfield, Dwight Stephenson, Marino, and yes, Thomas, and Taylor. The classless ways in which these guys have handled themselves is reprehensible and I, for one, will NOT be renewing my season tickets this year.

Shame on you Ireland, Parcells, and Sporano! You talk about loyalty, honor, and respect, yet you show absolutely NONE of any of those qualities!!

Excellent stuff Salguero. You obviously want the team to succeed. You seem to care more about the team's good name and history than Ireland-Parcells-Sparano.

Its time for tuna to go. He sits in his ivory tower and thinks his poop dont stink. Bye bey tuna

billbill

F you you jet fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was a KILLA!!!!! A KillA I TELL YA!!!!!

I would've of knocked you right over a fire hygrant into a telephone pole!!!!!!!!!

Don't over do it Armando. It's just a number. And we are not talking about Jordan's 23. Zach Thomas was a great player for us. But that has been over for a while now. Let the kid wear the number and if it serves as some type of incentive to him, then let him have at it.

Zach was a good dolphin, not great.

Mando, you are just a moron to make this kind of statement. The trifecta forgot more football than you will ever know.

Odin, shut up man .

Mando do you copy everyones work? This is just like the article I read on the bleacher report. When all you media people are done playing in a role on DAY OF OUR LIVES and start talking about football I will come back to your blogs. This is all ridiculous. Why don't we just retire all members of our teams jersey that make a few Pro Bowls? Zach WAS a great player! Starting to think that football players are babies. Dez Bryant this week has proved that he is not worthy of a first round pick and players will use this to get under his skin cause they now know he is weak.

please - just let them play - I don't care what number Edds gets. 54 is fine by me.

Thanks Gian,

Well said. Thats what the post should have been about. A positive SPIN on how Edds was GIVEN that numbers as a means of motivation.

PS: Billbill, I'm a KILLA!!!!
A KILLA I tell ya!!!!

Armando, why join the legions of these loser media folks by trashing this team???

IT IS ONLY A FREAKING NUMBER!!!!!!!GET OVER IT!!!

I don't care what this team does as long as it fields a winner. It would be nice to see them honor Zach by retiring him as a Dolphin and he's sure to be in the ring of honor (as is JT), but seriously, how many jerseys are you going to retire? I think that should be saved for hall of famers only, like Marino for instance. There should absolutely never be another #13 in Miami. I doubt Zach makes the hall & JT may or may not make it either. If they do, reconsider it but neither of them had the type of impact Marino did on the franchise.

What's next, retire Ronnie Brown's jersey? McDuffie? Great players and all but seriously...save it for the once in a lifetime type players.


"By the way, if you think Mando is never right, why are you here all the time? Get a girlfriend."

Posted by: FLPD | April 29, 2010 at 01:25 PM

from the mouth of babes- no body kisses butt like you do- get real for once. You make us want to vomit

Believe it or not, I'm more upset about Zach's number thing than Dez Bryant.

Dez never played for the Dolphins. Never will. I couldn't give a crap about him.

Zach Thomas was, as Mando stated correctly, an all-timer. You do not tug on Superman's cape like that.

If the Dolphins retired all the numbers some of you are crying for we couldn't field a team on Sundays. This is the problem with America today- too many are overly coddled and it has weakened this Country. Man up or Shut up!

BTW- jets suck

Billbill,

Shut up? Shut up?

OH you DID NOT tell ME to shut ?

I'm just punching the S H I T out of my keyboard now, just wishing it was YOU!!!!!!!!!

Boy, you guys will stop at nothing for a story. Zach Thomas is gone. Yeah, Zach had a lot of fans, but let's not make him out to be more than he was. I was a big Zach Thomas fan. An even bigger Mark Clayton fan. Big deal! After 2 years they give out his number. If you can't find anything better to write about maybe you should look for another job. Why does everything little thing have to be a controversy? How about we grow up, move on, and talk about some actual football?

Sorry Mando but your view of Zack must be based on something other than football! Zack's stats benefitted from a system designed to send the play to him! He wasn't however a sure tackler & wasn't quick enough for coverage! Add to that the fact that he (& JT) ran out of steam every season and perspective tells you that he never was or will be a great. Competent and no more! John Offerdahl he wan't!!

No, jets suck, I KICK butt. And I would gladly and easily kick yours if I ever saw you in person. And then YOU would be the one to end up in jail for it, getting gang raped by men named Tyrone.

Oh, I'm so sick of all this tit-for-tat. Lets play football!

Armando:

Although I agree with you most of the time, this story is only a story because you wrote about it. I don't think anyone would have cared or considered it meaningful that the fins gave out #54.

Billbill,

You can run but you can't hide.

I'mah git cha!

This pisses me off. It's about more than just a number. It's a show of arrogance and insensitivity. No excuse for it. None.

Yea, and Cris Carter had stats better than many WRs in the hall of fame. As does Andre Reed. As will many of the WRs who are just top 15 at their position today, by the time they are done will have better numbers than current HOFers. Does tat make them elite? No. Don't be a homer, Zach is a very, very good player, but he is not elite. I am sorry that we disagree on that. Curtis Martin is 5th on the all-time rushing list, does that make him elite? He has more yards I am pretty sure than Jim Brown. So by your line of thinking, Curtis Martin is more elite than Jim Brown. No sir, not even close. Zach is in the hall of very good, not the hall of fame.

This is a PR nightmare because people write articles saying it's a PR nightmare. To the Dolphins its business as usual. Stop living in the past. If the Fish win a SB only you will care about "PR" nightmares because it hurts so much personally. Let it go and focus on the future! The Fish have a bright future, time to move on. You are slowly losing your credibility.

Obviously if the Dolphins were having internal discussions about this topic as Mando claims, they recognized it is a sensitive issue.

I just wish they would have come up with the right answer and not give away the number now. Do it later or don't do it at all. Why tempt fate and anger fans like me?

The thing that has become most obvious to me here is that the NFL has had an increase in women fans - because it seems that instead of talking football, all we ever hear about is touchy feely crap.. what happened to the men in this game?!

All is Well.

All is Well.

I want a Sparkly Pony!

I want a Sparkly Pony!!

We need new reporters in Miami, not a goosip columnist he have which should work for tabloids. I am sick to my stomach with all these articles.

Can we read something which will pertain to football and not gossip. Football is a grown man's sport, it is business, one man apologized and one accepted. I have made bad comments in my past and apologized to the appropriate party, it happens. You move on, and I wish we could do the same.

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