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Tony Sparano addresses Dolphins tackle mysteries

Tony Sparano was making the rounds of South Florida radio shows Tuesday morning and, first up, he visited Armando and the Amigo, giving us a chance to have some fun with the Dolphins coach and get some interesting nuggets as well.

The nuggets mostly included Miami's offensive tackles -- an area of much mystery since training camp began.

Firstly, the coach gave the most clear view of a timetable for brining LT Jake Long off the physically unable to perform list. Basically, the Dolphins expect Long in the lineup for the regular season opener against New England and probably even a little before.

"I can't say 100 percent right now but that's been the plan and right now the plan is going according to script," Sparano said. "If the plan continues we would see him actually on the field a little before that. I don't know how this is going to go but the most important thing is we have him there for New England and that was the goal from Day 1."

So good news on the left tackle front. On the right tackle front the scenario is a little more murky.

As you know if you're keeping track, the Dolphins signed former Dallas right tackle Marc Colombo on Monday afternoon. Then they gave Vernon Carey a "personal day," off from practice Monday evening. Carey is not injured. Carey didn't need a rest as Monday was the first day in full pads.

The rumors throughout the Internet is Carey was given time to go home and ponder the possibility of a pay cut. If that is true, it makes sense the team would not allow Carey on the field, where he might risk a season-ending injury that would cost the team his entire salary for the year.

Carey is scheduled to cost upwards of $7 million against the cap and while that is fine for an elite tackle, Carey was not elite last season. That, combined with Colombo's addition makes him a prime candidate for a pay cut.

I asked Sparano about the rumors and whether he could guarantee Carey would be on the team in 2011.

"You know better than to ask me that question," Sparano began. "At the end of the day, anything I talk about with my players I'm going to keep in house here. But I gave Vernon a personal day last night. That's all I'll say about it. He and I are going to visit again today at some point."

So Sparano and Carey will talk today on a day players are off from practice. That suggests the Dolphins will try to get an answer from Carey on a topic -- the acceptance of the paycut?

Also, sometimes what goes unsaid is just as important as what is said. Coach did not guarantee Carey will be on the team.

The man does not lie. So no wonder he would not make that guarantee. 

You can listen to Armando and the Amigo every weekday morning 6-10 a.m. on 640-AM in South Florida or 640sports.com on the web.

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