Pending free agent Sean Smith will have a very happy holiday season as it was discovered he didn’t sustain a catastrophic — and costly — injury Sunday.
An MRI on Smith’s left knee Monday morning showed no tears — only a bruise — according to a league source. There’s a chance the fourth-year cornerback could even play in this weekend’s season finale at New England.
Fears were Smith had sustained a far worse fate Sunday, after he left the game in the third quarter and did not return.
Bryan McCann replaced him, joining Dimitri Patterson in the base defense as the Dolphins held on to defeat the Buffalo Bills 24-10.
A major injury might have been damaging to Smith’s bottom line. His contract expires at year’s end, and (assuming he’s healthy) Smith is expected to garner a lucrative, multiyear contract on the open market, should the Dolphins not re-sign him or place the franchise tag on him.
“The training staff will determine whether a guy is ready to play or not,’’ defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said Monday.
“We’re going to go out and we want to beat New England. Our goal is to play our best game of the year.”
Excuse coach Joe Philbin if he doesn’t know what to do with himself next week. Once the Dolphins play New England on Sunday, Miami’s season is over.
For Philbin, this is only the fourth time since he joined the Green Bay Packers in 2003 that he isn’t gearing up for the postseason.
Even in his final two seasons at Iowa, Philbin would spend the holiday season at a bowl game.
“I haven’t really gotten there yet,” said Philbin, whose final game as Iowa’s offensive line coach came in the 2003 Orange Bowl game against USC.
“When the day the season ends, whenever that it, it’s a total shock to the system for coaches and players because you’ve been hanging around one another for upwards of six months if not more. ... But when you’re watching film of the New England Patriots as we are, there’s really not time to be thinking about that quite yet.”
Philbin added that he and his coaching staff will meet Tuesday as usual, although it won’t be a full work day.
“We do believe in opening presents,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have a bunch at my house.”
• Rookie tight end Michael Egnew was active for Sunday’s game against the Bills as he took the field for the first time this season. WQAM 560-AM’s pregame show had some fun with the situation, offering fans tickets to the game if they could correctly tell them Egnew’s number (it’s 84).
A third round pick out of Missouri, Egnew was in on Miami’s second offensive play and was on the field throughout the game. Egnew never had a ball thrown his way.
“I thought he did a good job on what we asked him to do,” Philbin said.