Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore insists he has never given any thought to PSI levels.
But Mark Clayton, half of the Dolphins’ famed Marks Brothers, has a preference for football air pressure. Or at least Clayton claimed he does with a sly grin Friday morning.
“I like it about a 12, 13 [pounds per square inch],” Clayton joked. “But I tell them, if it’s cold, I like it a little less. If it’s a little cold outside, it makes the ball harder to catch, and it makes it easier to fumble when it’s filled to its capacity, and the receivers can’t get a grip on the ball.”
The context to Clayton’s remarks, of course, was the Patriots’ football deflation scandal. And Clayton, one of 43 foursomes about to tee off at the Dolphins’ annual charity golf tournament at Trump National Doral, was just getting started.
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“I think somebody did something that they weren’t supposed to do,” he continued, referring to Tom Brady. “I’m not sure who they’re blaming touched an air needle, but I’m sure they had their way of instructing the way things need to be done, because that’s how they like their balls.”
And when asked about the Patriots’ reputation for shenanigans, Clayton responded with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
“That’s a squeaky clean franchise,” he said, words dripping in sarcasm. “They would never do anything against the rules.”
Moore, meanwhile, was far more measured Friday — not surprising, considering he actually still has to face the Patriots twice a year.
Moore, who was the Dolphins’ starter for much of 2011 before backing up Ryan Tannehill the past three seasons, said he has never talked to the team’s equipment managers about the inflation level of his footballs.
“They do their job and we go play,” Moore insisted. “That’s all that’s made of it.”
A.J. Francis, a Dolphins defensive tackle, was even more dismissive of the topic Friday.
“I think there’s real problems in the world, like the earthquake in Nepal, the Amtrak crash, B.B. King just died,” Francis said. “People need to stop focusing on things that don’t matter, like what the Patriots did to their footballs. That’s not a real news story. That’s a fake news story.”
Not surprisingly, general manager Dennis Hickey had nothing to say about the league’s decision to suspended Brady the first four games of the season.
But he did touch on a number of other issues Friday morning at Fins Weekend, the team’s biggest charitable fundraiser of the year:
▪ Two starters coming off major knee injuries — Branden Albert and Louis Delmas — remain on track to start the season opener. In fact, Delmas, who tore his ACL in December, is expected to participate in next month’s mandatory minicamp.
▪ Although the Dolphins will continue exploring ways to upgrade their interior offensive line, Hickey said, “We like our guys,” referring to guards Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner. “We expect them to keep taking the next step. So far, the results have been good this offseason.”
Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Phillips “looked good” during last week’s minicamp, Hickey said, adding that position coach Terrell Williams “was impressed with him.”
▪ DeVante Parker, the team’s top draft pick this year, has already had a chance to run routes with his new teammates and Tannehill. “[We’re] getting a vision of what the 2015 team is going to look like,” Hickey said.
▪ Francis, meanwhile, acknowledged that Ndamukong Suh continues to train on his own instead of participating in the team’s voluntary offseason program.
“That’s what he does,” Francis said. “He’s the best D-lineman in the league, so if he wants to train somewhere else, that’s his prerogative. Nobody can tell him otherwise.”