Yes, the Dolphins have been slimed by some notable NFL names as a team to avoid. Warren Sapp and Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark have been critical of Miami and said players are staying away from Miami for various issues.
Free agent safety Tyrell Johnson, signed Thursday after four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, doesn't agree. He said his visit in Miami on Monday went well. He said he "felt comfortable" with Miami's coaches. And he disagrees Miami is a bad place to continue a career.
"I think that's a negative way to look at it," Johnson said Thursday. "I feel like any team in the NFL is a place to go play. It's a privilege to play in the NFL and any team can compete for a playoff spot. it's a coin flip every year. Look at the Lions a couple of years ago and look at them now. They're a playoff-caliber team every year now, I would think.
"I don't believe in that saying."
Johnson didn't visit any other team during free agency. He said he had another visit pending but cancelled it.
Johnson was a second-round pick in the 2008 draft but never quite met expectation in Minnesota. He started games sporadically but the Vikings wanted more and Johnson never provided it.
Johnson, meanwhile, believes he's ready to give more with the change of scenery. He will compete at both free and strong safety for the starting job as the Dolphins plan to use interchangeable safeties anyway.
"I've been through it," he said. "I've been on top. I've been on the bottom. I've been benched. I've been inactive. I've been hurt. You just grow up as a person, a player, as a father. You grow up as a human being going through some things. Sometimes you have to go through some things to get some things."
Johnson has been though some things off the field as well.
In September of 2011 he was arrested for suspicion of driving while impaired. Authorities said Johnson was arrested after registering a .12 blood alcohol level in a state where .08 is the legal limit.
"Terrible decision on my part," Johnson said. "Terrible judgment call. It shouldn't have happened. I paid my dues for it. I did everything to handle my business there and that's behind me ... You live and you learn. That's behind me. I made a mistake.
"I've apologized and greatly feel sorry for that mistake. You live and you learn and I'm focused now on getting better and making better decisions in the future. "
Johnson also finished the 2011 season on the injured reserve list after he tore a hamstring in November. Johnson said Thursday the injury is still not completely well. He estimated he's at "85 percent."