I'm baaaack (at least for this week).
The Dolphins just completed their first day of a three-day minicamp and here is what is going on:
Reshad Jones, Mario Williams and Jason Jones were not present. Jason Jones and Williams are coping with personal issues and were excused from camp. Reshad Jones obviously is holding out for a contract re-do.
And there is interesting stuff on that front:
Both sides -- the representatives for Jones and the Dolphins -- are treading very lightly around this topic even as they face off in what is effectively a contract holdout at this point. Neither side, it seems, wants to offend the other side.
Both sides are reticent about anything that might upset this process. And it is a process because both sides are actually working toward what eventually will be a contract adjustment. Yes, this might lead to a contract adjustment -- or at least the promise of a contract adjustment within the 2016 season.
That's two years before Jones's current deal expires.
And that is interesting because typically teams want to hold the line on re-doing contracts two years out so as to not set an uncomfortable precedence for all their players who might want new deals before their current ones are done.
But here's the thing: Jones is a cornerstone player for the Dolphins. Everyone believes that. The Dolphins, who fully intended to re-sign Jones when his contract expired, believe that. Jones, who wants to earn between $3-$5 million more per year than his current $7 million a year average annual salary, knows it also.
The two sides also know that Jones is not likely to turn this so contentious that he'll sit out the season.
The point neither side wants this to be about drama. Both sides are trying to work toward a solution. And, perhaps surprisingly, that might include a contract extension, re-do, whatever you want to call it.
The most obvious example of how the sides are tying to avoid the image that this is contentious or a controversy came today when head coach Adam Gase basically said Jones missing all offseason and not knowing what new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is installing on defense is no big deal.
"When you're an NFL player, part of your job is to learn NFL playbooks," Gase said. "So when a guy isn't here -- whether it's Phase I, Phase II, OTAs or minicamp -- and they haven't been exposed, Cover 3 is still Cover 3.
"Maybe there's a different term for it. Guys like that that have experience, they understand defense. As far as him being able to learn the playbook, that would be zero concern to me."
The Dolphins don't want to make Reshad Jones angry.
Reshad Jones, out of the limelight, doesn't want to make the Dolphins angry.
Everybody wants to make this work because, at this point, both sides want to work toward an amicable end.
On the DeVante Parker front, he has been cleared to practice again, according to Gase.
The plan was to get him in individual drills today. And then let him participate in some team drills either Wednesday or Thursday. But Gase changed that plan out of caution.
The coach said he went "soft" and kept Parker sidelined so as to not risk a re-aggravation of whatever was ailing Parker -- which is still a mystery. Such a setback could potential cost Parker the next five weeks of training leading up to training camp.
Gase didn't want to risk that setback. Smart.
But the head coach apparently changed his mind after practice and said Parker will be out there Wednesday for at least individual drills.
Me? If you're missing one day, let him sit this camp out altogether and make it up over the next five weeks. But what do I know.
I just came back from vacation.