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How will scandal-stung Dolphins weigh character concerns?

Part of the fallout from last Fall's harassment scandal in Miami is that eyes are on the Dolphins to see what type of players they add to their locker room now. Teams traditonally have varying degrees of pain thresholds when it comes to players with character flaws or histories of trouble and the Dolphins have steered clear of some of those while embracing others.

The Dolphins had cornerback Aqib Talib off their board in 2008 and wanted no part of cornerback Jimmy Smith in 2011. But they were fine with Davone Bess in 2008, Vontae Davis in 2009 and Jimmy Wilson in 2011.

And, yes, they added Richie Incognito in 2010 when he had washed out of multiple college programs and the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills wanted nothing further with him.

The Dolphins also kept Incognito in 2012 and '13 until the harassment scandal broke, even after they were aware of his infamous team golf outing battery on a female volunteer prior to the '12 season.

As Nick Saban once told me, "I'm not running Father Flanagan's home for boys here. I'm running a football team and guys sometimes have troubled pasts you have to accept."

And most teams accept them and aren't really questioned for that. Even the New England Patriots can go out and sign or draft players with problematic pasts and no one seems to question them -- even though they had a player on their roster who is in jail awaiting trial on murder charges.

But because the Dolphins were such a focus of national attention during the bully scandal, because the Commissioner has made such a point of stressing locker room conduct, and because the team itself has perhaps overreacted in pledging to aggressively stress a good work environment, the Dolphins are under the microscope now.

So will they still draft players with questionable backgrounds? Or will they flag them and take them off their board?

Will they stress finding good citizens to the extreme of losing sight of finding great players? Or will the Dolphins be able to walk the fine line between getting good players who may have character blemishes that can be managed?

It's an interesting dynamic that the team is currently managing.

Consider that several players the Dolphins have shown interest in this pre-draft period come with some character concerns. Some have drug pasts. Some were suspended in school. Some committed crimes.

So what will the Dolphins do with their interest in those players? It will be interesting to see.

Here are some players the Dolphins have shown interest in that have some sort of character concerns:

CB Walt Aikens: He played at Liberty but that was after he transferred from Illinois where he got kicked off the team by coach Ron Zook after he was arrested and pleaded guilty to burglary.

WR Martavis Bryant: He was suspended from playing in the Dec. 31, 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl game for academic reasons. He apparently was habitually absent from study hall which is not a big deal except that it speaks to meeting responsibilities and being on time to meetings. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said this of Bryant at the time: "At some point, enough is enough. Martavis is a good young man. We have study hall rules that you have to follow here. And when you are just kind of habitual in breaking those rules it gets in my hands and that is kind of where it’s at. He just hasn’t done what he needs to do from a team standpoint and academically. It was a decision that was made and hopefully he will learn from and decide that he wants to be a student."

CB Phillip Gaines: He was arrested in 2011 for possession of marijuana and, of course, that's a long time ago. But he was also suspended by Rice from the 2013 season opener for violating team rules, the details of which were not specified.

OT Seantrel Henderson: Despite his great athletic gifts, his University of Miami career is more known for suspensions, missed meetings, benchings, missed classes and marijuana use than his on-field play. He confessed to marijuana use at the Indianapolis Combine. Good thing because, according to ESPN, he tested positive for marijuana at the Combine.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: He was suspended for the 2013 season opener after he was arrested and pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge the previous July. The tight end had a blood alcohol level of .18 which is more than twice the legal limit. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail of which 364 were suspended. The Dolphins had the player in for a visit but it is unclear if that was discuss the arrest or re-check a fractured foot that showed up during the NFL Combine or both.

CB Marcus Roberson: He was arrested in 2011 when he was a sophomore for underage drinking. He was 18 at the time and the legal drinking age in Florida is 21. Roberson was also suspended in November of 2013 for violating unspecifided team rules. He missed one game. There are also "character" concerns, according to one scout I talked to. He would not be specific.

Other players in this draft with character concerns, according to scouts:  Michigan OT Taylor Lewan, South Carolina CB Victor Hampton, LSU RB Jeremy Hill, Alabama State RB Isaiah Crowell. This by the way is not a complete list.



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So we are under a handicap for Thursday's Draft(nothing new down here). This and Hickey this being his first Draft going too conservative.

Character concerns are such a strange thing to go off of when evaluating talent. I think players that have them will always be a risk, an it does affect their draft position typically.

The Dolphins can't assume because a player has a checkered past that they can't overcome it.

first pick must be an immediate starter.....at any position--needs to start/contribute right away.....lord knows we have numerous holes to fill

Only in America are the dolphins accused abd accosted of 'bullying' which is beyond ridiculous

I'm sure it will affect them. They'll probably miss out on the next Ray Lewis or Randy Moss, or most WRs

mild interest/attention on this issue maybe in pre-season and early in the year, but overall I think much of the focus on this issue (locker room chemistry/leadership/character, etc) has faded to a good degree--Martin and Cogs are gone, without much fanfare really, and the lame committees and initiatives to ban offensive language on the field have mostly faded too....most realized it wasnt realistic and I think many fans and players are just tired of discussing it--we'll have the obligatory lip service but for the most part, I think most have moved on

I think Bess would have been fine if he stayed. I think being traded messed him up

"under the microscope" for how long, and to what degree?--and what exactly does that mean, from a practical standpoint?--maybe a few last gasp stories about this as we move through the summer into pre-season, but thats about it.....really, what exactly is Goodell expecting to do, and what CAN he really do?--let it go mando

I wonder if the Pats, Ravens, and 49ers are doing same? I doubt it. Unless its an overwhelming character concern take the player. Kids do dumb things in college.

Mando, you forgot the all-time "high risk" character guy the Dolphins took a shot on - Cecil "the diesel" Collins. Kid almost made it too! If only he would have stayed out of other people's bedrooms when uninvited!

Yeah, I remember Cecil Collins, some major Sociopath that JJ brought in. He was soon caught burglarizing a house and that was the end of him.

We really want none of that element. We have enough of them around here.

seriously, if we start putting together a list of past and present players with character concerns, or brushes with the law, or worse, etc.....and not just players, but also a list of team execs who have been charged with DUI, assault, etc....it would be a very LONG list--whatever, the stars lined up beyond badly for the Fins last year, some of that of their own doing no doubt.....but seriously, how much longer can we take the issue of "NFL players with character concerns" too seriously?--that violent nature of the game draws guys with character concerns, after all

Collins did 12-years in prison for just wanting to watch that lady sleep:
"On December 16, 1999, Collins committed burglary in Palm Trace Landings, an apartment complex in Davie, Florida. He admitted that he broke into the home of a married woman that he knew from the gym, but said he only wanted to watch her sleep. After conviction on the charge, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on March 27, 2001 and released on May 1, 2013."

An MMPI, besides the Wonderlic, should be of rigor for every Player that will come into the NFL.

Phinfan, you make a point....Cecil was about the poster boy for high-risk, bad character dudes, to say the least....yet only a few eyebrows were raised when JJ signed him....no one (or few) were outraged....was just accepted as a risky signing of a rough and tumble bad guy....BUT most Dolphin fans, and those around the league in fact, were willing to look the other way because he could play, or at least to give him that opportunity--how many people/fans really cared that they signed him?

They need to get rid of Pouncey.

That 1999 draft was horrific. If you did not know it, you would never guess that Jimmy Johnson was pulling the trigger that day. No "acorns" in the bunch:

1999 Miami Dolphins Draft
Round Overall Player Position Birth date College
2 39 J.J. Johnson RB 04/24/1974 Mississippi State
2 43 Rob Konrad RB 11/12/1976 Syracuse
3 72 Grey Ruegamer C 06/11/1976 Arizona State
5 134 Cecil Collins RB 11/19/1976 McNeese State
5 142 Bryan Jones LB 12/21/1975 Oregon State
6 192 Brent Bartholomew P 10/22/1976 Ohio State
7 232 Jermaine Haley DT 02/23/1973 Butte College JC (CA)
7 244 Joe Wong OG 02/24/1976 Brigham Young

They make Players take the MMPI and probably 30% of the starters now in the League will score high on the Sociopathy scale.

Case by case scenario would be my guess.

Also depends on how good of a player you are.

If you can carry the load on gameday, you get more rope.

Always has been the case, always will be.

PP72, this is what often happens when you trade right out of the 1st round... you end up with a whole salad bowl full of crappola

I think jermaine Haley was the best player in the bunch, from butt school apparently...

Oh yes, Mit. Nobody was going to sit down Ray Lewis for being a Sociopath, which he is.

How does Joe "I know nothing" Philbin still have a job after last year??

But all these Athletes with sociopathic traits are a big risk and very expensive for the Team. Look at Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers now.

I actually remember being super hyped when they drafted Collins and I saw him carry the ball in those first few preseason games that season. He had that extra gear and toughness that you want in all RB's. I thought if Jimmy could keep M. Irvin out of jail all those years in Dallas he would surely keep Collins in check. Turns out that Collins was a truly bad person though while Irvin was just a guy who loved shady women and drugs a little too much. Big difference. So it seems like you have to weigh "bad character" on a sliding scale. Is he a guy who likes to party a little too much but takes his craft VERY seriously like M. Irvin did or is he just a bad guy period who has gravitated to football where smashing another guys face in is somewhat encouraged (aka Richie I.)? Good luck deciphering between the two before a guy even gets into the league and before you make him a millionaire.

In our case this year, don't touch Carlos "El Guapo" Hyde, James wilder, Jr. and a few others.(I don't need an MMPI result, I have developed a nose for them thru the years)

Right down all your draft stuff folks. Then like every year when the season starts list how many number ones actually start in the NFL.Thursday night is one of the most overated events in the NFL. The stats show this.

yeah Jay, lets get rid of possibly our best player....solid idea...why exactly would they do that?--because he has a few tats, or is a little rough around the edges?....on the edge at times, seemingly?--yeah, him and about 30% of the rest of the league, so good luck replacing him with a Boy Scout...you know, because so many Boy Scouts play pro football

That another Major one of them, Richie Incognito.

Was Cecil really that great in preseason tho.

Sociopaths have always existed, exist and will forever do so. In a way, they are part of our Nature. Now, Psychopaths, you don't want to know.

Collins did 12-years in prison released on May 1, 2013."

Posted by: Phinfan72
What, he's out. Hickey sign him now. I'm sure he is rehabilitated and a model citizen. No more worries on 3rd or 4th and 1.

if we're going to eliminate, or possibly eliminate, dall of the guys with character concerns, we're going to have a pretty short list to choose from

Wasnt Pouncey doing drugs? On the tweets. We dont need that. He's a ticking time bomb to get in trouble. Supported Hernandez and Incognito should tell you all you need to know about Pouncey.

I couldn't care less. Draft the player that you believe in. These guys are talking to them face to face, we are not. If someone with a questionable past seems to have straightened up draft him.

Bullying scandal, another media driven load of BS.

Funny how the Patriots signed a kid out of college with gang affiliations, drug usage in his past, and is now awaiting a murder trial and the media GAVE ABSOLUTELY ZERO ATTENTION to the matter. But some overgrown kids on a football team call another player a name and it's national news for months.

If you win, if you have a winning record and people spend money on your product the NFL and people covering it are fine with whatever you do. Spygate, paying players to injure opponents, cheating,,,it all gets swept under the rug. But if you dare to be mediocre in this league you will be crucified for every misstep you take.

And we as fans are supposed to give a crap? LMAO, Yep, okay, not happening. I don't care who the Dolphins sign or draft. I don't care how it "makes them look". It's all a big joke. I hope they sign a bunch of degenerates so the world can talk about it nonstop for the next 6 months. I could use a good laugh.

What, he's out. Hickey sign him now. I'm sure he is rehabilitated and a model citizen. No more worries on 3rd or 4th and 1.

Not so fast The Crappy Rodgers, Cecil's legal troubles are not over just yet it seems:
The Louisiana Supreme Court cleared the way earlier this month for prosecutors to once again try to persuade a state judge to revoke Collins’ probation in a pair of 1998 Baton Rouge cases and send him back to prison for up to five years.

“We’re going to be pushing for revocation. I think the maximum (sentence) is appropriate. He violated his probation by committing another serious felony offense,” East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie said Tuesday.

“I do understand he did a lot of time in Florida, but that was for the crime he committed in Florida,” she added. “There should be some consequences for violating his probation.”

Collins, 36, was on probation in 1999 for forcing his way into the apartments of two women who lived in a Nicholson Drive complex when he sneaked into his neighbors’ apartment in Miami. He was convicted in 2001 of burglary in the Florida case and sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

Let's draft Jack the Ripper or ted bundy

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins:

The tight end had a blood alcohol level of .18 which is more than twice the legal limit. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail of which 364 were suspended. The Dolphins had the player in for a visit but it is unclear if that was discuss the arrest or re-check a fractured foot that showed up during the NFL Combine or both.

Off of a 1st offense?? In the St. of Fl. it's a 1 Yr. suspension of your license with the 2nd Offense a possible 6 months in County Jail.

There has to be more to this story??

My, what Busy Beavers you all are!

Gracious me!

Posted by: Phinfan72 | May 06, 2014 at 04:37 PM

JJ had quit after 98 and it took some butt kissing from Marino plus Huzienga flying in BFF Wanstedt on his personal chopper to talk him out of it. I don't believe JJ's heart was in it anymore. Plus remember that he tried to swing a trade sending most of that drafts picks TO Washington because he wanted to move up on Edgerrin James. The Colts pulled the trigger on him @3 where we were trading into the 5th pick. JJ wasn't a Big Ricky fan and backed off at which time Ditka swept in and made the trade for every pick with wash. for Williams.

ditka, hilarious trade. can u imagine that deal today, for a rb!?!/

Well, I don't know about Hernandez or Pouncey, but Incognito was involved in an incident at a Golf Club where he exhibited mean, major Sociopathic instincts. He should have been fired on the spot and gone to jail Of course, Ireland and Joe "I know nothing" Philbin stepped in. And then you know the rest....

Rob Konrad was a beast. Cecil the Diesel would have been. JJ Johnson was servicable

yeah jj couldnt draft anything but d while he was here

That is so, Phins 78, Winning fixes everything, almost.(at least not all with me)

JJ had some good defensive drafts with Miami. His offensive picks were mostly laughable. Overall, thoroughly mediocre despite his "draft guru" status.

They don't exist, by the way.

Not really sure we're under a microscope. Mr. ross probably thinks we are so the bar is probably already been set.

All teams do their due diligence though and we'll make decisions accordingly.

IMHO you try to draft guys who are passionate about football and the rest will work itself out.

Some like Santreal Henderson are no brainers. Free agent signee or maybe 7th rd pick but he would be on a very short leash and would have several stipulations in his contract.

It was a RB driven league back then. Jimmy just had to "fix" the RB position in his mind. So he reached for some very average backs and one very troubled one. Can't blame JJ for taking a shot at creating a monster running game with Marino on his last legs. Thankfully, Wanstedt came in a righted the ship after JJ left and Marino was allowed to finish his career on his owns terms and retire with dignity! Not. Jay Fiedler, paging Fiedler, J.:

Fiedler's stint with the Miami Dolphins featured three 10+ win seasons in four years, two 11–5 seasons in 2000 and 2001, an AFC East title, and two postseason appearances including a victory for the Miami Dolphins. During these years, the Dolphins' offense lagged notably behind its defense, which featured perennial Pro-Bowlers in linebacker Zach Thomas, defensive end Jason Taylor, and cornerbacks Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.

Hey cut JJ some slack he drafted Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Of course the basketball version was slightly better.

It is clear to see that Great Coaches also depend on a stable personal environment to make Great Decisions. After Shulas' wife Dorothy passed away Shula began declining in his decisions. Same as with JJ after his mother passed away. A sudden , no more stable personal environment, leads to poor decisions.

Phinfan 72,

I remember the Cecil "The Diesel" Collins incident well he was found by the woman's husband in the bedroom and he chased collins into the parking lot with gun in hand hen Broward Sheriff's Office arrived probably lucky he got outside the window agin so fast!

This of course was coupled with Demitrius Underwood who attempted suicide on the Mich St. campus after we picked him up. He was at the time the only #1 pick I can ever recall being released before the start of the Pre-Season in Minnesota were Dennis Green cut him lose after he left Training Camp because he couldn't accept beinga Football player in his Evangelical faith. JJ was the only one brave enough and in Miami he was caught in team meetings writting about the pending Apocalypse, I kid ou not sure you could look that up somewhere you couldn't make that kid up if you tried.

Add the 97 multiple arrest of Lawrence Phillips after joining team were one of them involved him taking Under aged UM QB Ryan Clemment out with him then both arrested for Instigating a Riot in a Key Biscayne night Club which hurt Butch Davis (JJ's guy) in the midst of sanctions and probation at the U. The Phillips incident played a big part in passing on Rady Moss in 98 with the backlash of the Pro player taking the (Under 21) College QB Clubing still playing out!

At the end of the day though JJ did this at every stop so no surprise to me the problem lied in that before at Dallas and the U he was on top of these guys keeping them in line and when he took the job here he just wasn't the same A S S Kicking whip cracker! His heart was on his 3-Rings boat at his spot in Key Largo.

The one made up by Martin and the media? No one cares one bit about that pile of BS.

I thought that was a nice piece I wrote above at 5:42PM.

Please, f4l, use the Spell Checker. My eyes are weak.

He should have been fired on the spot and gone to jail Of course, Ireland and Joe "I know nothing" Philbin stepped in. And then you know the rest....

Posted by: oscar canosa | May 06, 2014 at 05:27 PM

Had the young woman in question called the Police Incognito would have been arrested for Sexual Assault. He stuck a Golf club between her legs! The real reprehensible behavior was on the part of team officials who talked her out of it trying to conceal what he had done.

It is obvious that JJ gave chances to these sociopathic Football Players kids. But even with his degree in Psychology, he didn't know the different degrees of the illness in them.

Please, f4l, use the Spell Checker. My eyes are weak.

Posted by: oscar canosa | May 06, 2014 at 05:51 PM

I do alot of posting on my phone and sometimes I end up either hitting 2 letters side by side due to big hands were I either skip a letter or post the 2 side by side ones if you look at were I have the typos, in any event apologies!

The worst Draft class was by Nick Saban in 2006. Best player out of this class was Jason Allen CB, that should tell you something

It is good to live the Tranquil Life, f4l. I have an ample key board where I don't have to use Spell Checker. You'll get there as long as you're not too ambitious about $$$.

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