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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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OK OK this is going too far now. I am a HUGE Zach Thomas fan. Although Dan is up on deity status, Zach is my favorite player other than Dan. I don't see the issue here. At this point it's almost like no matter what they do it's going to look bad.

I'd love if Zach got invited in to retire as a Dolphins player and give a farewell speech. Then we'd get all the stories of how this was just a way to save face and too little too late.

Is it possible that this rookie coming into this program idolizes a player of the stature of Zach Thomas in this team's history? I for one would love if that was the case and I'm sure it would be an honor for him. Perhaps he would like the number to honor Zach.

However, of course, if this was done simply to tweak Zach for speaking out and if Odrick is suddenly 99, then I agree it's just nasty business.

I loved zach for for what he did ......

But there comes a time you have to move on....

Please stop making a big deal out of nothing.....Lets just worry about edds's play and not stupid off the field BS.......

1. Mando is just doing his job, lay off damnnn.
2. It's called respect, somthing the dolphins should work on.

Posted by: Finsnumber1 | April 29, 2010 at 05:36 PM

I consider myself a Miami Dolfan and if you want respect you're going to have to beat it out of me.
That's the way it is with this team now and that's the way it should have been for a long time.

Note to the "over sensitive gang":
Try www.jetsblog.com


Dont Care,Dont care, Dont care.............Next post please......

You hit the nail on the head:
The best outcome is Jones starts from Day 1 and we don't need anyone.
Or maybe Jones pushes Culver to a higher level etc.
As a fallback though Ireland has let Sharper know that he wants to interview him. He's just waiting for those players and their agents to call him back.

Armando, I absolutely 100% agree with everything you said in your post. The Dolphins whether win or lose have always been known as a classy organization. What is Parcells trying to do before he leaves? What is the goal here?

I do appreciate the football side of things like you said, but the way this organization is perceived by players, agents, coaches, GMs, etc. is going downhill fast. It's great to build a strong team but is there anything wrong in doing it with class?

Well from a long time fan I can see the perception is that they don't care about the fans or the image of the Miami Dolphins organization. They ask the players to be accountable to one another and the Miami Dolphin name. Where is that same accountability from the organization?

Lastly I would like to make it clear that Tony Sparano has been a class act ever since he took over the head coaching position and I really hope he doesn't get dragged through the mud that Ireland and Parcells created by pissing all over everyone. Tony is a stand up guy and is honest with his players. He seems to care about them and the Miami Dolphin image. He works his butt off to get the most out of his players and the system, even pulling all nighters after losses.

Something has to change. The treatment of one of Miami's all time great players and fan favorite ,Zach Thomas, is hypocritical considering it does not follow their 'all about the team mantra'. He gave WAY more blood sweat and tears to this organization than Parcells and Ireland combined. Their treatment of one of our favorite players is completely disrespectful to not only Zach Thomas but to the fans as well.

Here's a great question I would like to ask Bill and Jeff. How do you expect to get players to run through a wall for you when they see how poorly this teams all time greats are treated? Isn't that counter productive to building a strong team?

Wahh wahh wahh, when did pro football become the girl scouts. I've been a fan since 1971, I would like to see a superbowl win before my time is up, if Parcells, Ireland, and Tony can do this I don't care who gets hurt.

Non-story. Until the number is retired it's fair game.

And Mando, you should address Marcellus Wiley's comments regarding prostitutegate when he was on Mike & Mike this morning. While he agrees the question was dumb, he talked about meeting Parcells before signing with the Cowboys. The first question he asked Wiley was "are you on drugs?" Wilet was taken aback by it, but later in conversations with Tuna he learned Bill regretted how he handled Lawrence Taylor. "I made him a great player, but not a great man." He wished he had done more to keep LT out of drugs and trouble, vowed to not make the same mistake.

So while the question probably should not have been asked, it seems to have come from the right place. Wiley talked about how the majority of players who get in trouble do so because of those around them. If you are going to give as kid millions of dollars then you also need to know who is around him, and if you know that you then can help him better.

Again, there is a better way to find out what they wanted know without inferring his mom might be a hooker. Fine. But there are so many other angles to this story that piling on Ireland is incredible wrong. Besides, the team traded for a guy recently who has been in a lot of legal trouble. Do you not think he was asked about these thing, bluntly and to the point?

The sports media has less and less credibility every year. ESPN being the worst.

I would bet that most of the people who don't agree with Mondo are in the twenties or younger. Their is a thing called respect, something that is lost on a good number of younger people of today,for individuals who gave their heart and soul to a team and a community. I enjoyed watching the real #54 flying around on the field making double digit tackles week end and week out. I our current LB's had half of the determination to succeed or talent that Z. Thomas had we wouldn't had to have draft or obtained eight of them this offseason. I agree with Mondo and Thankyou Zach for all the great memories for this 40 yr old who won't forget the real #54.

Good post Bat Dad.

Wow, just read some of the responses to Mandos blog and I'm shocked. I'm very suprised that anyone who watched Thomas play for his entire career doesn't think he's worth at the very least a Dolphin retirement and proper send off. I'm sorry to disagree but Irealnd and Parcells dropped the ball on this one.

The sad thing is BP will be gone after next season and Zach will still be a vital member of the community and the Dolphins alumni. Maybe when Carl Peterson takes over he will retire Zach as a Dolphin for us. At least I know Peterson has class.

I'm now sad to say I'm sorry I ever met Bill Parcells and I hope I see him again this summer because I WILL be giving him a piece of my mind. See you on the links Bill! :)

Mr1313, I completely disagree about ESPN being the worst. They have elevated their game and now are the best or didn’t you see Dr Phil on NFL Live yesterday.

I can see the Bulls retired #23 I mean he did bring the city numerous championships etc etc.... but All the other dolphin players we are talking about yes they where great but did not bring jack to Miami, so why should the organization retire their numbers, you do that for special players unique players that bring championships, not just because they are above average..... if thats the case in the next 15 years we'll run out of numbers.... Maybe they can start Alpha Numeric system....lololol... PLEASE MOVE ON!!!

it seems the fans are tired of the non sports news, and the pumped up information to make news, i mean what is going on with real news, its the reason i stopped my news paper

See what you created Armando? Real cool. Please write about the present or future and not about crybabies from the past. And relax with the Sharper talk. If MIA was one free agent safety away from a title then yes, sign him. Miami needs to develop the safeties they have by playing them. Signing high price vets will slow there development. We have a good young core but we must be patient

well this will be the year that we will see if parcells was right in hiring Ireland and Sparano as Bill used to say you are what you are and they were 7 and 9 last year and could have been 9 and 7 with better coaching or 10 and 6 but I won't go into the list of things I thought they did wrong but if there is no playoffs this year I think people will be asking if sparano and Ireland are right for the job. Zach 's number should be retired but it is not so for me there is not a problem with someone wearing it, I would like to see more reporting on how the dolphins plan for the defense because the offense should be pretty good but I think the D is a BIG CONCERN

"All the other dolphin players we are talking about yes they where great but did not bring jack to Miami".

Guy you're kidding right? Is it Zach Thomas' fault that the team didn't win a superbowl? The guy who averaged around ten to twelve solo tackles per game? The guy who practiced all day and then went home to his personal film room to get ready for the next opponent spending countless hours breaking down game film and helping other LBs with their assignments? The guy who John Madden called the "hardest working LB in NFL history? The guy who would sleep in a hyperbolic chamber just to get an edge on Sundays?

That's the f***ing guy we are holding accountable for the Dolphins not getting a ring? Whatever.

The trouble with blogs that go on page after page is, people forget what the topic was. They just react and/or agree with other comments. And sometimes it becomes a feeding frenzy like now.

If most of you had bothered to READ AND UNDERSTAND what Mando was saying, you might feel differently. Scroll up and read the article, you might learn something. Then again, maybe not.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! You're breaking my heart. God millions of people live lives of quiet desperation hand to mouth everyday, if they're lucky, but somehow the cold shoulder in the realm of the BUSINESS which is the NFL toward its multi-million dollar players is supposed evoke righteous indignation from the media and fans. Nevermind the majority of fans that bleed aqua & orange can't even afford to go a live game. Puleeeeze. Saving #54 jersey out of respect. Are you joking?

There's no bigger fan of Zach than me. He's a Fin through and through! He actually signed a football for me that sits on my dolphin shelf along with the '72 autographed football, but this is business. Until Management (Stephen Ross) says retire that jersey, #54 is fair game! The "Trifecta", as everyone likes to call them have a plan. Let them work it and judge them when they're done! I'm a season ticket holder since Wahoo McDaniels played-(remember him) and I don't have a problem with their philosophy! There really isn't time anymore for sentiment! In business the mantra is "What have you done for me today"? Just WIN BABY and all of this talking head crap get's put into place. So with that said-Just Win!

respect my azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz for 54 .

NYScott and all the rest of us here that love Zach Thomas:

I think everyone here agrees that Zach should be allowed to retire a Miami Dolphin. I think he eventually will be.
You people bashing the FO on this are just way out there on some meloncholy emotional field trip.
Zach NEVER announced his retirement last year. This off season he was hoping to possibly play again somewhere. He didn't announce his plans to retire for sure until Feb 14 of THIS YEAR.
What was the FO supposed to do? Plan ahead just in case Zach actually decides to retire.

The FO probably stays busy dealing with FA and the upcoming draft that time of year, ya think!
In addition, as far as I know NOBODY has told Zach that he won't be allowed to retire a Dolphin!

Yeah, lets all bash the FO because their not giving Zach Thomas's possible retirement priority over building us a winning team.

This kind of S H I T makes me sick!!!!

Mando do your job and do some real reporting. This has been a great off-season for the Phins. But listening to you, I'd have thought we went 1-15 for 5th straight yr. Your a great reporter, give it a rest.

I think #54 Edds will be a good player in time. #54 Edds plays very well in coverage. #54 Edds will be able to cover TEs much better than Crowder. I'm glad they drafted #54 Edds......#54 Edds!!!

I for one am excited to see what A.J Edds has got... this kid was the captain of one of the best defenses of the country, is great in coverage, has great hands, has a high motor and flies all over the field making plays... who else would be better to wear #54?

Look, Zack Thomas was a great Dolphin for many years and gave his all... that is fact. But you don't retire jerseys of guys like that... You retire the jerseys of guys like Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, Joe Montana, or Babe Ruth... We are not talking about great players here, but guys who were more than elite... that won championships and changed their games as a whole...

And those of you that are buying into the notion that this is some kind of "mistake" by the front office... That is sad, and I really don't have anything else for ya...

You know how the Trifecta can "get in touch" with the fan base real quick? By putting a winning football team on the field. That'd get in touch with me real darn quick. It's a business and I'm a customer, all this other crap I could care less about.

good post jstew

This front office is great on most all things football. However, they act as if they are the first FO the Dolphins have ever had and the team is just 3 years old. They have a noticeable lack of respect, and I'm starting to call it outright disdain for guys that played for the team before they arrived. Its Almost like they are threatened by or scared of being upstaged by the former players and coaches. Btw, just the fact that 'mando puts an "if" in front of Edds, as pertaining to whether he makes the team or not tells us all we need to know about this 4th round picks ability. I say that because for this kid to be on the bubble in regards to making this porous D is ridiculous. That's why I thought this draft was marginal. There were still plenty of good, need players available when Edds was picked. If he doesn't make team it would be a waste of a valuable pick.

Get over it. You and the local media are mad at the Trifecta becasue they will not talk with you. Color it any way you want but it shows in your posts. Move on stop crying and report on the team and their play. I am tried of your complaining about them not talking with you.

Fin Fan in Arizona

Does anyone really care about numbers, other than socially inadequate sports geeks? It's a number, not Zach Thomas' testicles, for crying out loud.

Still dont care.........

Look Mando, it doesn't really matter to me anymore. As if to think that player numbers is that important. If they unretired 13 and gave it to a player that helps us win the superbowl, I'd take it ina heartheat. The fans know who helped us and Zach will always be thought of as a great LB for us, like Offerdahl and Cox. If Brandon Marshall wanted to wear 13 then let him where it. Numbers are only there for identification. let the players play and move on to the future.

51-52-53-54-55-56-57-58-59.... WHICH NUMBER LOOKS BETTER ?

I PICK .....53

Who gives you this @#*& to write? Come on Armando. Maybe... they gave him the number to inspire him to play like one of the greatest.
Why is it always negative. I remeber when you got this job and you are still writing the same journalistic crap that is on every other newspaper website. In my opinion you should cater to the fans. That is the reason they come to your blog. And to answer your question, I agree it would have been great to offer the Zach a retirement ceremony and have him pass the number on to Edds. That oughtta motivate ya. But seriously... I LOVE YOU Armando. Nothing gay like that but c'mon man!!! the fans want to hear news not cowpatties. NEWS!!!



They have a noticeable lack of respect, and I'm starting to call it outright disdain for guys that played for the team before they arrived.

What are you talking about? Other than Ricky, Zach, and JT, what players from the "lost decade" do you want to warmly embrace.
I'm glad we're distancing ourselves from those perrenial loosing teams.

Again, what's wrong with you?

Btw, just the fact that 'mando puts an "if" in front of Edds, as pertaining to whether he makes the team or not tells us all we need to know about this 4th round picks ability. I say that because for this kid to be on the bubble in regards to making this porous D is ridiculous.

Now mando's a better talent evaluator than the Trifecta? Because Mando said "if" Edds is on the bubble?

Dude-WTF? Sounds like you been hanging out with Dez's mom for too long!!!!

Bang on baby!


any big boys around ?

This has got to be the only organization that worships players who haven't produced championships. Thanks for all those mediocre 9-7 and (wait for it)...10-6 seasons Zach. Oh...and thanks for ending your carreer with the Cowboys.

Zach doesn't deserve to have his number retired, nor JT. However, duper and clayton were as much a part of Marino's success as he was.

If Mando had his way,Dan Marino and guys like John Offerdaul would still be playing....GEEZ*LOL*

I just ordered my #54 Edds jersey!!! I can't wait to wear it with my iron-on Sporano mustache!!

#13 BAloco!!!!



They should retimre Tim Bowens' number before Zach or JT. Bowens made their job easy...


any big boys around ?

Posted by: HOT ASHLEY | April 29, 2010 at 06:40 PM

I have *BIG* shoes, does that count???

Yeah! #13 is very important. Look how many Superbowls #13 won.... Oh, wait a minute...

Hi,super........how tall are you ?

my boy zach was great, loved him, borderline player to have number retired. Lets stop trying to develope a story just to have to print something. Media has to stop this kind of stuff.

Apparently Bill Parcells uses 13 pieces of toilet paper when he wipes his ass. This is a blatant disrespect of Mr. Marino's #13 and is obviously intended to be a slap in the face.

Check out the story in tomorrow's blog entitled "Parcells wipes out Marino's legacy"

Posted by: test

Oh man that just made my day...absolutely killed you Mando!
Here's some Sharper for you guys, please bring him in at least for a year...especially like the pick on "Bobble hands Ginn".



Thanks and I already know that you know that I know Dan the Man wore No. 13.

Armando, right on the button. You're getting really good....

Anyone who says a number isn't important never played, or they sucked. Your number is your name. 54 was perfection, on and off the field.

And then here and now....this new kid who looks potent, now has to beat down Zach's legacy ?? It's exactly what Edds has to do. Man I thought they liked the kid. Cuz I tell you, I see 54 make a hit it's Zach....I can't help that.


Uhhhh. If I came on here to talk pr I would love this story. But I came here talk football. And I leave disappointed

LOL!! #54 perfection? Are you serious beachjester? I played and started hero!! The only numbers I cared about were on the scoreboard. Wanker!

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