Randy Starks was back Tuesday – but as more of an observer than anything else.
The Miami Dolphins defensive tackle, who skipped the spring’s voluntary practices in protest of his contract situation, reported for work Tuesday – the first day of the team’s mandatory mini-camp.
He took part only in individual drills, watching from the side during team repetitions. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the plan was to ease Starks in after a long time away from the team, and wouldn’t commit to increasing his workload the rest of the week.
“He’s happy to be in the building,” Philbin said. “We’re all happy that he is here.”
In Starks’ place with the first-team defense: Jared Odrick, starting as a 4-3 defensive tackle after predominantly working at defensive end as a pro.
“It’s like riding a bike,” said Odrick, who played on the inside in college.
Though Odrick would not say if the move was permanent, all indications this spring are it will be. In the four practices thus far open to the media, Odrick has lined up exclusively at defensive tackle.
As for Starks, he kept quiet about his contract dispute after practice. He’s said to be unhappy about being given the franchise tag designation instead of a long-term deal this spring. If he had continued his holdout and missed this week’s three mini-camp practices, Starks would have been subject to a $66,000 fine.
“I missed these guys,” Starks said. “I’m just happy to be out here and get the season started.”
KELLER TALKS JETS, TEBOW
Dustin Keller must feel a little like Michael Corleone. Just when he thought he was out (of the New York Jets’ circus), they pull him back in.
Keller made national headlines last weekend when he told SiriusXM that “there’s always some type of nonsense” surrounding his former team.
He got some predictable blowback in the days since, but Keller said Tuesday that those remarks were taken out of context.
“Hopefully they’ll move on from that, because I already have,” Keller said.
That’s not all the noise coming from Gotham. Former teammate Quinton Coples, a linebacker, crowed recently that Keller wouldn’t get off the line when the two meet this fall.
“Yeah, buy that if you want to,” Keller sniffed in response.
Keller, who was held out of much of practice Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, did have kind words for Tim Tebow, who signed with the Patriots this week.
“I’m happy for Tim,” Keller said. “He’s getting another opportunity. He’s such a hard worker and a great guy, and he definitely deserves it.”
JORDAN ONLY PLAYER MISSING
The only Dolphins player missing from the first day of mini-camp was top pick Dion Jordan – and his absence was excused. League rules prohibit Jordan from practicing with the team until training camp because his school (Oregon) is on the quarters system.
Guard Lance Louis (knee) and cornerback Jamar Taylor (sports hernia) were both limited in their participation. Rookie Dallas Thomas, however, appears to be recovering well from shoulder surgery and was sent out as the left tackle with the second-string offensive line.
Nate Garner got work with the starters at both left guard and right tackle Tuesday.