Miami Dolphins

Shula: Miami Dolphins were about class, didn’t deflate any balls

Former Dolphins coach Don Shula, right, talks to current coach Joe Philbin at rookie camp Saturday.
Former Dolphins coach Don Shula, right, talks to current coach Joe Philbin at rookie camp Saturday.

Four months after referring to coach Bill Belichick as “Beli-cheat,” Don Shula couldn’t resist taking another shot at the Patriots on Saturday.

Speaking during the unveiling of plans to celebrate the Dolphins’ 50th anniversary this season, Shula said the Dolphins always comported themselves “with a lot of class, a lot of dignity. Always done the right way. We didn’t deflate any balls. We always tried to live by the rules and set an example.”

Asked later whether the Patriots’ Spygate and ball deflation scandals will tarnish their accomplishments, Shula said, “I’ll pass on that question.”

Shula spoke to players after Saturday morning’s session of rookie mini-camp.

“He said all his records, let us know that when he came, he turned things around,” safety Cedric Thompson said. “It hit home what we can do here.”

Anniversary lineup

Among the Dolphins’ plans to celebrate their 50th anniversary:

▪ Dolphins players will wear 1966 throwback jerseys during the Dec. 14 Monday night game against the New York Giants.

▪ A list of the top 50 Dolphins players will be chosen, in no particular order, with voting equally weighted among four groups — fans, media, all former Dolphins players, and the blue ribbon committee that selects the team’s Ring of Honor, which includes Shula and owner Stephen Ross, among others.

Fan voting will begin in July on miamidolphins.com.

▪ The Dolphins will release a coffee table book, “Fins at 50,” in January.

▪ Dolphins players will wear a 50th anniversary patch on their jerseys.

“Being asked to write the forward to the book is going to bring back a lot of memories that over time drift away,” Shula said

▪ Dolphins executive Nat Moore said additional anniversary plans will be announced later. “We’re going to have different themes every game,” he said.

This and that

▪ Former UM basketball player Joe Thomas, who tried out for the Dolphins as a defensive end the past two days, said he hadn’t played football since Pop Warner, before he enrolled in high school, and hadn’t even met with or worked out for the Dolphins before this weekend.

About a month ago, he told a graduate assistant on the UM basketball staff that he wanted to try football, and that assistant and an agent began contacting NFL teams.

The 6-7, 245-pound Thomas, who transferred from Niagara to UM last summer, said the Dolphins were the only team to show interest in auditioning him and his invitation to rookie minicamp surprised him. He chose defensive end “because it feels the most natural, like when you’re going up for a rebound.”

He said he didn’t play football in high school because “I didn’t have time. I’ve always loved football.”

Another former UM basketball player, Rafael Akpejiori, tried out at tight end this week, but dropped at least two passes. He was on the UM football team last season, but said he didn’t play in a game because he wasn’t eligible, something UM never announced.

▪ Asked who has stood out, coach Joe Philbin mentioned undrafted Colorado State running back Dee Hart, who was at camp on a tryout basis.

▪ Penn State rookie linebacker Mike Hull, picked off a pass from Chase Rettig and had some good moments this weekend. Penn State coach James Franklin said it was a “travesty” Hull wasn’t drafted.

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