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Loyalty no longer an NFL tenet

Loyalty schmoloyalty!

Long ago, when I moved over to NFL coverage after covering the University of Miami for much of its football and baseball heyday, I was still bought in to the idea of team loyalty -- athlete to team, team to athlete.  I truly believed that athletes cared about playing for their team as part of a heartfelt tie to the colors, the city, the organization, the relationships, all that. And that teams felt a tie and kinship to their core players.

The idea was alive and well before free agency (I covered the Dolphins before the advent of free agency) but, I must admit, my beliefs began to change in Dan Marino's final days. The Dolphins, unwilling to carry the legend that had carried the franchise for so many years, cut Marino.

Marino did the noble thing and refused to cut ties with the Dolphins. He declined a couple of offers to go elsewhere and retired instead.

But the die was cast. I recognized that football is a business. Period. Loyalty is a viable bond only as long as the two parties are serving one another. And when that service no longer benefits one of the two parties, no history, nor heartstring, nor contract can keep the athlete and the team loyal one to another.

We have seen more than our share of examples of that through the years and, particularly, in recent weeks. Recently the Dolphins fired coach Tony Sparano despite the fact he had two more years left on his contract. Sparano was working for the Jets, a team he despised during his Miami tenure, within a couple of weeks of the regular season's end.

Last week we learned that Chad Pennington, who played for the Jets before he finished his career (apparently) with the Dolphins, has been tutoring Jets QB Mark Sanchez. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reported Pennington, armed with a Dolphins playbook from the Sparano days, tutored Sanchez on what is expected to be his new system.

So the QB that left the Jets to come to Miami is now helping the Jets QB learn the Dolphins playbook likely to be used by the old Dolphins head coach who is now the Jets offensive coordinator. And if that doesn't cross loyalty lines, here's the kicker: That QB learning the old Dolphins system to use in New York might not be the Jets starter in 2012 if the Jets replace him with Peyton Manning, who is presumed to be departing Indianapolis after 14 great seasons because, well, because his time is apparently up.

Speaking of Manning, the day of decision for him comes this week, no later than Thursday. Despite my very well read Sunday column on why I don't like the idea of Manning to the Dolphins, it seems clear the Dolphins are going to be in line for him once he's released -- assuming the Colts do not pay the $28 million bonus due him that date.

The club's priority is not to trade a bounty of draft picks or combination of picks and players to the St. Louis Rams for the right to draft Robert Griffin III, according to several NFL sources, one of which works for the Dolphins.

Miami's talk with the Rams the past few weeks was preliminary and not by any means a signal that a trade is imminent. Simply, the Dolphins have apparently decided their priority is to get a free agent franchise QB -- albeit an aged, injured one -- than to gut their draft for a potential draft-day franchise quarterback who has yet to prove himself.

The only way the Dolphins are even players on the RG3 front going forward is if Manning goes elsewhere, such as Washington, Kansas City or, yes, the Jets.

Oh, and about that loyalty thing?

Manning is said to be ready for the eventual moment when he's no longer a Colt. He wants to stay in Indianapolis, I'm told by NFL people. He wants to finish his career with one team. But that team isn't going to be paying him $28 million on Thursday.

So the sides are more likely than not splitting -- loyalty to one another be darned.

Comments

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I don't know if the Dolphins will trade up for RG3. I don't know if they will sign Manning, Flynn or draft Tannehill. I just know my Dolphins. They will make the wrong choice.

Armando is beginning to remind me of a chick I broke up with in 11th grade. I should have never asked the crazy girl out to begin with but she was pretty and seemed nice enough... then I told her I was going out with "The guys" one Friday night and she lost her mind (or what I perceived as her mind)... she stalked me all over Lake Worth and Greater West Palm Beach all night trying to accidentally "Find Me"....

Truth is... whenever Kim did not get her way she would say or do anything she could to throw stink on a situation. The girl was even jealous of my mother and father.

I got smart after a few weeks and broke up with her... think it was bad before...? HA! Talk about a psycho let loose... She spent the next 6 to 10 weeks (until she found another victim) telling everyone I was a cheater, that I was a liar and that I was "Verbally Abusive" to her...

I say all that to say this...... If Miami were to stop everything they are doing and do what ARMANDO wants.... He would drop the negativity in a heart beat... he would not be spending some of the most crucial time for our team back whipping the lack of loyalty in the NFL and he would DAMN SURE not worry about Tony Sparano's offense... and offense Armando used to tear apart weekly just for something to write...

Yep... Armando is in Love... and he got it bad....

If Miami does not get RG3 he will make their life a misery and ours also....

Just like that crazy beotch Kim back in 11th grade....

Armando.... why not just "Wait and see"? Huh pal...?

Everyone but you is willing to say they know NOTHING and neither does anyone else about what Miami is planning to do.... Before souring the milk and pizzzzing in everyone's Wheaties,... just wait and see what they do...... Okay..?

Because you are loosing readers... How do I know? I'm one of them and I speak to others.....

Just wait and see, Armando... you know NOTHING more then what you have been told by people paid to tell you what THEY want you to hear... and they may be playing you like a Jack of Diamonds....

Mando, glad you woke up in time to smell the roses! There is no loyalty, it's all about money! Anything can happen! RG3 may get picked 1st, we'll see, it will be an interesting draft!

Payton is a player not a teacher, just like Marino... Tell me how well did the Qb's in indy do this past season with Payton as a teacher

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