Lots of news this morning.
The Dolphins have five players on the physically unable to perform list and Dion Jordan has been reinstated. Oh, yes, and owner Stephen Ross expects the Dolphins to be in the playoffs this year. And the stadium will be ready in time for the final preseason game Sept. 1, the owner said.
And those revelations all came before the Dolphins got through the first hour of practice this morning.
The team placed running backs Damien Williams and Arian Foster, cornerbacks Bobby McCain and Xavien Howard, and linebacker Zach Vigil on PUP.
The players can come off PUP at any time in the preseason to begin practicing. I'm told McCain will likely be back in a couple of days. It is not a long-term issue.
Williams is out of shape and coach Adam Gase is not pleased with him because, I'm told, the player was out of shape a month ago and he remains that way. The coach would not disclose that Williams is out of shape but when asked if all players passed the conditioning test, he answered, "maybe not."
Howard, who is expected back for the regular-season opener, is the most serious in terms of time he's about to miss.
Jordan was today reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis. He can join the Dolphins as soon as Saturday and participate in team meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. He cannot practice or play in game until "arrangements have been confirmed regarding [his] clinical resources in Miami," the NFL said.
Prior to the start of the regular season, Jordan will meet with the NFL to review his progress and based on his compliance and engagement with his program, he will be permitted to participate in regular season activities, including games, beginning with Week 1.
He will evaluated (again) later in the season for full reinstatement.
Jordan had been suspended indefinitely since April 2015.
Gase has studied Jordan but said, "I haven't met him." He did not get into specifics about where Jordan will play -- defensive end or strongside linebacker. He didn't get into specifics about when Jordan will join the team, although the assumption is Saturday.
This much is certain: Jordan must play special teams to make this team.
Owner Ross talked to the media before practice. He was feeling good as he often is this time of year. But this year, aside from showing his usual optimism about the coming season, he had news about his stadium improvement project.
“At 11:30, I’m signing the last piece of steel that’s going up, and you’re all invited to see the stadium," Ross said. "I’ve been on a phone call every day at 4:30 (p.m.) since January and really pushing it, using our people in New York to push it. I think what we’ve done is probably unprecedented – to put a roof on top of a stadium. When you go out there and you see it, it’s kind of amazing. I would encourage you to see it, because when it’s up and it’s all done, people will say, ‘Hey, that was easy.’
"I’ve built over $20 billion worth of projects and this is the most complex – basically because you’re putting such a large structure in place in such a short period of time – and there’s no way you can be late. There’s no alternative. I know we will be playing September 1 there."
Ross was asked again if he is concerned work on the stadium will cause problem for the opening Sept. 1.
"Let’s put it this way, I’ve had those worries. I’ve been living with them. I don’t feel them today and there is no backup plan.”
Ross told me the project will come in at around $500 million. A totally brand new stadium would cost between $1 and $1.2 billion he said.
On the field ...
Dallas Thomas took all the first-team reps at left guard. First-round pick Laremy Tunsil took second team snaps at left guard and left tackle.
During special teams drills, rookie Jakeem Grant looked great. He is quick and practically impossible to get hold of in space. But ...
Remember, today was not a padded practice. The NFL does not allow pads to go on until the third day of camp. We'll see about Grant, 5-7 and 172 pounds, when the work gets more physical. The Dolphins will be in full pads Monday.
Tony Lippett took all the first-team cornerback reps with Byron Maxwell at the other cornerback.
In base defense, Michael Thomas was at one starting safety with Reshad Jones. In the nickel, Thomas moved to slot cornerback, for the absent Bobby McCain, and Isa Abdul-Quddus played at safety.