Dimitri Patterson has been in the NFL seven years, long enough to know that nobody’s job is truly secure, not even the guy whose name is atop the training camp depth chart.
So, he was not entirely surprised to learn Tuesday night that the Dolphins released cornerback Richard Marshall, elevating Patterson to starting cornerback opposite free agent acquisition Brent Grimes. He felt bad for Marshall, knowing how much work he put in following last season’s back injury, but he plans to make the most of the opportunity as he has since he entered the league in 2005 as an undrafted free agent out of Tuskegee University.
“There so much I’ve seen in this league, nothing surprises me,” Patterson said after practice Wednesday. “I’ve seen guys all over this league, quality, well-respected good players that leave teams, get released, whatever. Richard’s not the first, and he won’t be the last. That’s the nature of this business.
“Telling someone they can no longer be with you when they dreamed of this since Pee Wee and college, I don’t know how nicely you can say that. Write them a postcard? I don’t know. … It’s brutal. You never get used to it. But whatever situation you’re afforded, you make the best of it. If the shoe was on the other foot, and I was released, I would make the best of it.”
Patterson started at corner during Wednesday’s drills, and Nolan Carroll went in for nickel and dime situations. Patterson ended the final 11-on-11 scrimmage with an interception of a Ryan Tannehill pass in the end zone, and he also broke up a pass play.
“When a situation like this occurs, you want to make sure and come out here and put that exclamation point on, let them know, ‘Listen, you made the right decision.’
“But the real answer will come in January and February. Success is your body of work, not just one practice.”
As of Tuesday night, Marshall was listed as a starter on the Dolphins’ depth chart. He had signed a three-year contract with the Dolphins in 2012 but started only four games and spent the final two months of the season on injured reserve.
He wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night: “I had a great time playing for the dolphins appreciate all the love from the fans but it’s time to move on.
“Good luck to all my boys. Have a safe and successful season this year.’’
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the team considered “a multitude of factors” before letting Marshall go. One of them surely was the $4.5 million they saved by making the move. The team bolstered that position in the offseason with Grimes, and rookies Will Davis and Jamar Taylor.
“Decisions like these are never easy,” Philbin said. “We feel it’s the right time and in the best interest of the football team. We wish Richard well in the future. He’s a very professional, team player.”
Philbin said running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas will continue to get third-down work. … The only players missing from practice were offensive linemen Nate Garner (shoulder injury) and Will Yeatman (no reason given). … Tight end Michael Egrew made an impressive grab from Matt Moore on a third-and-10 play. … Todd Boyan, Dolphins vice president of operations, addressed the media regarding the new stadium bag policy. Fans will be allowed to bring only a small 4- by 6-inch cosmetic-type pouch and clear bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Gallon zip-lock bags are allowed and will be distributed in the parking lot Saturday for fans who forget.