David Garrard is gone, Artis Hicks is done for the year with a serious neck injury, and Ray Feinga has new life in Miami.
And to think, Tuesday was an “off day” at Miami Dolphins camp.
Here are the team’s many developments, in chronological order:
The Dolphins decided on their backup quarterback, releasing Garrard one day after he returned to practice from a knee injury that cost him the entire preseason.
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“To all the dolphins fans thx for ur support!” Garrard wrote on Twitter. “Best of luck to all my teammates. Thx for making me feel at home!! Phins up!!”
Given Garrard’s fragile health, the move wasn’t a complete surprise. More of a shock, however: The Dolphins’ decision to place Hicks, their projected starter at right guard, on injured reserve.
Hicks has been battling a mysterious neck injury since the preseason opener, one that causes him “throbbing pain,” a league source said. Even after a battery of tests, however, it’s unclear if the injury is muscular or nerve-related.
Hicks will get a second opinion soon in Los Angeles, one the 33-year-old hopes can help determine whether his career is in jeopardy.
With Hicks down, the Dolphins chose to re-sign Ray Feinga, an offensive guard who has been on and off the team’s active roster too many times to count over the past three seasons. Feinga, a 6-4, 320-pound blocker from BYU, did not see any action in 2011.
Hicks’ injury, combined with Jake Long’s uncertain status for Sunday’s opener in Houston, means the Dolphins need all the offensive line help they can get. John Jerry, who was danger of being cut after reporting to camp out of shape, is the immediate beneficiary. Jerry started in Hicks’ place during the preseason, and will likely do so again.
Meanwhile, the Garrard decision came after it became clear he would not be healthy for the start of the season. Garrard’s agent, Al Irby, put his client’s health at 90 percent, but conceded he could need up to another 10 days to fully recover.
Garrard was the early front-runner in the team’s quarterback competition. But that all changed when the former Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowler needed arthroscopic surgery in early August, causing him to miss all four preseason games.
Had the Dolphins kept Garrard, they would have had to guarantee his contract – a risky move considering his health. Instead, they will go ahead with Ryan Tannehill as their starter, Matt Moore as the backup and Pat Devlin as the emergency quarterback.
“Anybody watching can see they released their best quarterback today,” Irby said.
The Dolphins released Garrard after receiving no serious trade offers for any of their three backups.
Such moves often come on Tuesdays, an off day for players. Still, 10 Dolphins were at the training complex to hand out 100 backpacks and school supplies to area students, and afterwards spoke to reporters.
“Don’t get hurt,” wide receiver Davone Bess said, when asked of the day’s lesson. “[Garrard] had a productive offseason, a productive camp. It’s one of them unfortunate situations.”
Added guard Richie Incognito: “That’s the facts of the business. It’s tough. But we think we have the right 53 to win.”
The moves leave with the Dolphins with an open spot on their 53-man roster.
Miami Herald sportswriter Armando Salguero contributed to this report.