Running back Daniel Thomas said he was embarrassed to be admonished by coach Joe Philbin on this week’s edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks and is determined to stay out of trouble.
Philbin, meanwhile, praised Thomas’ on-field work and said he’s “looking forward to seeing him contribute to the team this year.”
Thomas was summoned to Philbin’s office last week after being late twice in four days — for the team flight to Charlotte, N.C., and then for a weightlifting session.
“I’m getting queasy about you,” Philbin told Thomas in the one-on-one meeting that was broadcast on Hard Knocks. “You have to take responsibility for your own career. I don’t want to have to talk to you again.”
Thomas said he was late to the flight because road construction caused a detour, and he got lost trying to use another route. He said he arrived at camp at 10 a.m. Friday even though players weren’t expected until 11.
Being scolded on Hard Knocks “was embarrassing because I never got in trouble before,” he said. “Everybody saw it. People started texting me. I told my mom, ‘If you see me on Hard Knocks, don’t be surprised.’ You don’t want to give them a reason to get rid of you.”
Thomas said he subsequently received positive reinforcement from general manager Jeff Ireland.
“He knows I mean well,” Thomas said. “He said I’m doing a good job.”
Thomas, who rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries in preseason, “has really improved,” Philbin said. “He’s running the ball hard and physical, stepped up in protection a couple times very well. I’m excited about him. I think he’s got a chance to be a good player.”
Philbin added: “Some guys need a reminder” about following rules. “You owe it to them to sit with them face to face and tell them instead of [saying], ‘Thomas was late, that no-good son-of-a-gun,’ and whining to his position coach. You should address it with the player and see if it changes. Hopefully, it will.”
Receiver Brian Hartline, who has been nursing a calf injury, practiced for the first time in a month and said, barring any setbacks, he will be ready for the Sept. 9 opener at Houston.
“I haven’t been this encouraged in a while,” he said. “I felt good but probably not to the point I trust it. I’ve never been hurt like that before. It wasn’t supposed to be serious, but it lingered.”
Receiver Davone Bess said Hartline “looks good, like he hasn’t missed.” Said Philbin: “We’re excited to get our hands on him.”
Left tackle Jake Long did not practice because of a sprained MCL in his right knee but sounded encouraged. Asked if he will play in the opener, Long deferred to Philbin but then said: “I feel very good about it. I’m getting better every day.” Philbin said he expects every player on the 53-man roster to be healthy for the Houston game.
Guard John Jerry and linebacker Jason Trusnik also sat out practice for undisclosed reasons.
• Despite an 0-4 preseason, Philbin said: “We’ve made progress as a team overall. I’d be really concerned if Ryan Tannehill had thrown into triple coverage seven or eight times. If our backs had fumbled incessantly, I’d be very concerned. We have to do some things better, no question.”
• Philbin said he has no regrets about appearing on Hard Knocks. “I think it’s been good,” he said. “[Owner] Steve Ross tells me I look good on the show, so it must be good.”