Koa Misi’s 2017 comeback attempt ended Tuesday.
His career might have as well.
Miami placed Misi on injured reserve two days ahead of training camp, the second time in as many years as he’s had his Dolphins season ended by injury.
Misi, a veteran linebacker, has been out since undergoing significant neck surgery last season. The team was optimistic he’d be cleared to resume football activities in the spring, but he never could get healthy.
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Misi this week failed to pass a test necessary for him to play football and it didn't look he would be close to being ready. That led to the decision to place him on IR. While the NFL does allow teams to bring back two players from injured reserve each season, Misi is not eligible for that designation. He will not play for the Dolphins this season, even if he gets healthy.
Months back, Misi agreed to a pay cut to remain with the team, and as part of the new contract, will still earn $1.1 million this year. But after this latest setback, it’s increasingly unlikely he’ll ever play again.
“We're all disappointed. It's unexpected. I feel bad for him and we'll see what the future entails," said Misi’s agent, Kenny Zuckerman.
WINZ-940 host Andy Slater reported Tuesday night that Misi is retiring, but Misi’s representative says that is not true.
Hours before the announcement, Dolphins coach Adam Gase told reporters that he was “confident” that Misi would someday play again. But he also hadn’t heard the results of Misi’s latest medical checkup before meeting with the media.
Misi, a second-round pick by the Dolphins in 2010, struggled with injuries in each of the past four seasons. He appeared in 11 games in 2014, 13 in 2015 and just three last year.
And yet, the Dolphins stuck with Misi instead of pursuing other affordable linebacker options like Zach Brown, who met with the Dolphins in the spring but ultimately signed with the Redskins.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins added a starting-caliber corner to their secondary just two days before the start of training camp, signing Alterraun Verner to compete with Bobby McCain at nickel cornerback.
Verner, who spent the last three years with the Buccaneers, was one of several corners to work out with the Dolphins Tuesday, a group that included ex-Bronco Tony Carter.
Verner, still just 28, is a former fourth-round pick who has played for both the Titans and Buccaneers.
He’s been remarkably durable, missing just two games in seven NFL seasons. After beginning his career with the Titans, he signed a four-year, $26.5 million contract with the Buccaneers in 2014.
Verner started 12 games alongside Brent Grimes in Tampa Bay last year, recording 101 tackles and three interceptions.
At 5-foot-10, Verner isn’t really a physical fit as a boundary corner in Miami’s scheme. Instead, he’d project as a nickel, where he would push McCain for playing time.
“Great opportunity at this juncture,” said Zuckerman, who coincidentally also represents Verner. “He can play inside and outside. Veteran guy, and besides Byron Maxwell, everyone is a first or second [or third] year player" in their secondary.