Dolphins coach Adam Gase, still irked about Lawrence Timmons leaving the team without permission on Saturday, was non-committal on Monday about whether the veteran linebacker would remain a part of the organization, let alone play next week at the Jets.
According to a source, Timmons was doing much better Monday after dealing with an undisclosed personal matter over the weekend and wants to play Sunday at the Jets. He missed Sunday’s game at the Chargers after going AWOL Saturday.
ESPN reported that Timmons would meet with team doctors on Monday, which the team did not confirm.
Gase declined to say when asked if Timmons is expected to remain with the organization.
“Nothing to add, for what I have right now,” Gase said. “Really just gathering a lot of information. I’ve got a few other things I have to deal with the guys who played [Sunday].”
Gase said Monday he hasn’t talked to Timmons and has “no idea” if he was in the Dolphins’ facility.
Gase was asked if he has a lot of rules. “Be on time and play hard,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s real hard.”
The coach was asked his tolerance level when those rules are broken.
“What do you think?” Gase answered. “You’ve got two rules. It’s not hard.”
Among Miami’s most realistic options is suspending Timmons for as many as four games for conduct detrimental to the team.
Article 42 of the collective bargaining agreement allows teams to fine a player for up to one week’s salary or to suspend him, without pay, for detrimental conduct for a period “not to exceed four weeks.”
The Dolphins gave Timmons a two-year, $12 million contract in March, including a $5.5 million signing bonus and $11 million in guaranteed money.
But only $1 million of his pay this season is in base salary. So if Timmons is suspended without pay for one week, it would cost him $58,823 – one/17th of a 17-week NFL season, according to someone who has access to his contract.
If the Dolphins suspended him for the maximum four weeks, it would cost him $235,294.
Cutting him would not benefit the Dolphins much financially. According to overthecap.com, his cap hit would be nearly identical this season if he’s on the team ($3.77 million) as if he’s not ($3.75 million).
Next season, he has an $8.2 million cap hit if he’s on the team, $7.2 million if he’s cut before June 1.
And $4.5 million of his $5.4 million base salary for next season already has been guaranteed, per sources.
The Dolphins learned Timmons had gone AWOL on Saturday night and filed missing person’s reports with multiple Southern California police departments, according to a source.
According to TMZ and a team source, police found Timmons at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday morning in a boarding area. TMZ said a Dolphins official was summoned and met Timmons there and left with him. Timmons was trying to get to Pennsylvania, where his baby and the baby’s mother live.
TMZ said the reason Timmons bolted was because “he missed the baby and wanted to visit. He was serious about visiting her.”
Sunday’s absence ended a streak of 101 consecutive starts for Timmons, which ranks 10th among all active players and second among all defensive players, behind only Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr.
Dolphins players were supportive of Timmons, while noting they did not know why he left.
“Timmons is a great teammate, great football player,” center Mike Pouncey said. “He’s a leader on our team. Just hate to see he’s going through something.”
Asked if he would be welcomed back by teammates, Pouncey said: “Hell, yeah. We don’t turn our back on anyone. He’s one of our brothers. We love him.”
Linebacker Mike Hull said Timmons’ departure “was not ideal” and that coaches “threw some stuff together Saturday night” that involved Hull replacing Timmons in the nickel package.
Hull said Timmons never gave any “signs” that he was upset.
Even with Timmons, the Dolphins already were shaky at linebacker after losing Koa Misi and Raekwon McMillan for the season. Also, linebacker Ray Maualuga was out Sunday with a hamstring injury and his status for the Jets game is undetermined.
That left veteran Kiko Alonso starting alongside Hull, who was making his second career start, and Chase Allen, an undrafted rookie.
Hull played all 58 defensive snaps and had a team-high 10 tackles but allowed all nine passes thrown against him to be caught for 95 yards, which was the most permitted by an NFL linebacker in week two, according to Pro Football Focus.
“There were a couple different reads I could have made versus the running back in coverage,” Hull said. “Had a couple of bad plays here and there.”
Allen played only 13 defensive snaps but produced Pro Football Focus’ third-highest grade among Dolphins defenders.
Gase said Allen “did a great job” and said of Hull: “He has a knack for finding the ball. He anticipates better than a lot of guys.”
Miami Herald sports writer Armando Salguero contributed to this report.