The calendar might read April, but for all intents and purposes the NFL season has begun – at least for returning veterans.
Monday marked the start of the voluntary offseason conditioning program, the first time Miami Dolphins players can formally begin work on the 2014 season.
And unlike last year, there were no dramatic no-shows.
In 2013, defensive tackle Randy Starks skipped all non-mandatory events to protest the franchise tag; there were no such absences Monday, according to a league source.
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Wide receiver Mike Wallace was absent from workouts Monday while spending time with family, but had a flight to South Florida on Monday night and was expected to participate Tuesday.
Ryan Tannehill, entering his critical third year as the starting quarterback, was among the first to arrive. The Dolphins tweeted out a picture of Tannehill walking into the team complex at 7 a.m.
Defensive end Cameron Wake, center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Jared Odrick were also among those featured on the team’s website Monday. The workouts are closed to the public and media.
“New year new beginning,” Pouncey wrote on Twitter.
Two Dolphins receivers coming off serious knee injuries – Brian Hartline (PCL) and Armon Binns (ACL) – both participated Monday, with Binns tweeting out: “Day 1 in the books, great to be back out there with the fellas today! #FinsUp”
Meanwhile, fellow wideout Brandon Gibson’s patellar tendon rehabilitation “is going great,” according to a league source, who added Gibson is “well ahead of schedule.”
The voluntary program is made up of three phases.
The first: Two weeks of activities limited to strength and conditioning, plus physical rehabilitation.
The second: Three weeks of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on an individual basis. Live contact and offense vs. defense drills are prohibited.
The third: Ten days, over the course of four weeks, of organized team activities (OTAs). Again, live contact is prohibited, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
The Dolphins’ OTA workouts are scheduled for May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12. Their one mandatory minicamp will be June 17-19.