It took Phillip Merling a while and there was a detour jog in South Carolina along the way, but the defensive end's 2010 season has officially begun.
Merling was today activated from the reserve non-football injury list by the Dolphins, meaning he is now eligible to begin playing after spending the past five-plus months rehabilitating an Achilles' tendon injury.
The Dolphins made room for Merling on the 53-man roster by waiving quarterback Patrick Ramsey. The Dolphins still have Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen as quarterbacks on their roster. Tom Brandstater is on the practice squad.
Merling, the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 draft, had hopes of finally meeting the grand potential and expectations the club had for him but he had a pretty bad offseason. First came the domestic battery arrest on his pregnant girlfriend -- an issue that was ultimately dropped because the girlfriend declined to go forward with the matter.
And then there was the injury ... away from the team practice facility ... while simply jogging.
The Merling addition means the Dolphins get a solid contributor (assuming Merling is ready to go full tilt) as a rotation player. Merling in recent years has accounted for 25-35 plays even when he wasn't starting.
The Merling return also lessens the blow of losing rookie starter Jared Odrick for the season.