In the end, Lawrence Timmons’ indefinite suspension was one week.
The Dolphins re-instated Timmons Tuesday, and ESPN reported the veteran linebacker is expected to play Sunday against the Saints.
The move comes one week to the day after Adam Gase suspended Timmons indefinitely for going AWOL the night before the Dolphins’ season opener.
Gase later said that those who break team rules and trust can eventually be forgiven and welcomed back, “if the right steps are taken.”
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Apparently, Timmons took those steps in the past seven days.
League rules allow teams to suspend players up to four games for conduct detrimental to the organization; Timmons is back in the fold in one-fourth that time.
In retrospect, it was a question of when, not if, Timmons would be re-instated. The Dolphins need the help — they turned to undrafted linebackers Chase Allen and Mike Hull with Timmons sidelined — and the meat of their schedule is approaching. Timmons is expected to be on the team plane when it takes off for London Thursday.
Waiting on the other side of the pond? The league’s sixth-ranked offense.
Timmons’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on WSVN-7 Sunday night that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the situation would be resolved favorably. Gase declined comment when asked about Timmons’ status Monday.
While he was able to convince his head coach he deserves a second chance, Timmons could face a taller task inside the Dolphins’ locker room. Timmons was a team leader before he abandoned the team; any trust he has going forward will have to be earned.
Here’s why: CBSSports.com reported Sunday that Timmons attended a Steelers practice the Friday before Hurricane Irma, and expressed a desire to return to Pittsburgh.
Dolphins players said last week that they would welcome him back. But they’ll probably first need an answer as to why he vanished just hours before what was to be his Dolphins debut.
The organization filed a series of missing persons reports when Timmons disappeared from its Los Angeles hotel on Sept. 16. Authorities ultimate found him at the airport, where he was reportedly trying to board a flight to Pennsylvania to see his baby and the child’s mother.
For a time, Timmons’ teammates wondered if he was even alive.
“I just hope he's OK,” offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod said the day after Timmons’ disappearance. “You want him to play. He's a leader. He's a hell of player.”
Timmons has no history of irresponsible behavior. He was a dependable member of the Steelers’ defense for nearly a decade, appearing in 112 consecutive regular-season games before this incident.
Was it a one-time freak out? Does he truly want to be in Miami? Does he have a health issue?
Reporters will ask Timmons these questions — and likely others — when he speaks to the media this week.
“Obviously, there was a level of concern [when Timmons went missing],” Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke said last week. “We care for all of our players deeply. We're around them a lot. We went through a lot of stuff, obviously. We were concerned for him. I know Adam wants to sort of keep all the details in-house. I'll be there for him whenever Adam decides he's back on the team.”
Timmons’ return was bad news for fellow linebacker Justin March-Lillard, whom the Dolphins waived to clear up a roster spot.