DOLPHINS NOTEBOOK

Miami Dolphins sign defensive tackle A.J. Francis

 

abeasley@MiamiHerald.com

The Dolphins on Tuesday signed defensive tackle A.J. Francis, a training camp prospect the team hoped to keep on the practice squad back in the summer.

The Patriots ultimately claimed Francis and put him on their active roster, blocking the Dolphins from keeping the undrafted rookie in town.

However, he never played a down with New England and ended up on the Patriots’ practice squad. That made Francis available to the Dolphins this week.

Francis slept in Monday, but woke up around 9a.m. with 10 missed calls from his father.

His agent was trying to get in touch with Francis and couldn’t, so he started contacting family members. Within six hours, Francis was on a flight to South Florida.

“It was a crazy day, for sure,” Francis said. “I was ready to spend the whole year on [New England’s] practice squad, and then I get a call out of the blue.”

Although Francis never played for the Patriots, he said New England coach Bill Belichick helped him see more than just the man in front of him, but also formations, alignment and personnel.

“I feel like I came back a better player than when I left,” he said.

ODDS AND ENDS

• In a Dolphins tradition that spans more than a quarter century, current players and coaches distributed 750 Thanksgiving dinners to South Florida families in need Tuesday.

Each of the dinners, which were paid for by members of the team, could feed up to 10 people.

“It's a special time of year,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told those lined up for meals. “…[We] want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.”

The event was in conjunction with Feeding South Florida. It benefited families from Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties identified by participating charities.

• Boy band One Direction is coming to Sun Life Stadium on Oct.5, 2014, which is a Sunday. That means, the Dolphins will either be out of town that week, have their bye, or play on either Thursday or Monday. One possibility is that’s the weekend of their game against the Raiders in London.

•  Daniel Thomas (ankle) and Jonathan Martin (illness) were the only two players missing at practice Tuesday. Center Mike Pouncey, who missed the past two games because of an illness, not only practiced but he also participated in one-on-one hitting drills.

• Martin will again remain on the team’s active roster this week despite being away from the team for a fifth consecutive week. Martin will earn his weekly salary of $35,733. Richie Incognito, however, remains suspended.

• The Dolphins formally cut defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui and safety D.J. Campbell on Tuesday. Aaitui was signed to the team's practice squad later in the day. Miami still has one roster spot to fill.

• Miami added running back Cameron Marshall to its practice squad, but cut wide receiver Jasper Collins and defensive tackle Al Lapuaho.

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