NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today said five teams have been fined for improper contact between coaches and players prior to the lockout being in place -- and although he did not name the Dolphins, it is believed they are one of the teams that are being investigated for the issue.
NFL executive counsel Jeff Pash told reporters after Goodell's press conference that the five teams are actually either being fined or are the subject of an investigation.
"Five teams were contacted, whether they were inquiries or fines or some of each, I haven't read the letters so I don't know," Pash said. "The commissioner sort of rather strongly suggested that one team in South Florida might have crossed the line. Beyond that, I don't know."
Pash did not confirm the Dolphins have indeed been fined. Simply read his words. A report that Pash did confirm a Dolphins fine is erroneous. The Dolphins may yet be fined. But confirmation of that is not yet available. The Dolphins had no comment through spokesman Harvey Greene.
Quarterback Chad Henne, Miami's presumed starting quarterback, told The Miami Herald last month he'd been meeting with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for the last month in preparation for player-organized workouts that would replace any offseason workouts or minicamps lost to a possible lockout or other circumstance related to the uncertain and unresolved collective bargaining contract.
Henne, apparently comfortable with the new playbook, would presumably run the offensive portion of the workouts. To be equiped for that task, Henne had to learn portions of the playbook, or at least significant portions of it. And to do that, he likely had to study the darn thing.
Regardless, even meeting with Daboll to discuss strategy was apparently out of bounds. The collective bargaining agreement between players and the league specified that following the uncapped year, players and coaches would not meet until at least March 15.
Henne's contact with both Daboll and quarterback coach Karl Dorrell happened in February.
"I took some vacation time, maybe a week or two here or there, but once we signed Coach Brian Daboll, I tried to get into there as quick as I could to learn the offense," Henne told the Herald's David J. Neal during a team golf outing in February. "I've been meeting with him for the last month now. I feel pretty comfortable with what he's teaching and what the offense is going to be about just in case -- who knows what's going to happen this Thursday? -- that I can pass it on to the guys and help the guys out."
The Herald reported Henne's apparently inadvertant admission about the contact in February. Henne is quoted extensively in the story written by Neal at the time, talking about the new offense and how it is quarterback friendly and a mix of the New England and New York Jets offense. He did so with authority because he'd gotten the playbook and some tutoring from Miami coaches at a time the collective bargaining agreement said he could not.