Miami Dolphins

Respected Dolphins assistant to take leave of absence due to ‘medical complications’

Dolphins assistant coach Jim Caldwell, center, is taking a leave of absence in 2019 to deal with an unspecified health issue.
Dolphins assistant coach Jim Caldwell, center, is taking a leave of absence in 2019 to deal with an unspecified health issue.

Dolphins assistant head coach Jim Caldwell has taken a leave of absence to address an undisclosed health issue and will serve as a consultant to the team for the 2019 season, the team announced Saturday.

Caldwell, 64, was also the Miami’s quarterbacks coach before leaving the team. A replacement has not been named, but it is believed that Jerry Schuplinski, the Dolphins’ assistant quarterbacks coach, will take on more responsibility in Caldwell’s absence.

The unfortunate, unexpected staff shakeup comes just 12 days before the Dolphins’ first training camp practice.

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said in a statement. “I want to thank [Dolphins owner] Stephen Ross, [general manager] Chris Grier, coach [Brian] Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

Added Flores: “Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can. With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”

When Flores hired Caldwell in February, the plan was for Miami’s first-time head coach to lean on one of the league’s most experienced and respected voices as he navigated his first season with the Dolphins. Caldwell has 17 years of NFL experience, including seven seasons as head coach — first with the Colts (2009-2011) and then the Lions (2014-2017).

The team had hoped that quarterback Josh Rosen, acquired via trade in April, would flourish under Caldwell’s tutelage. Now, he will learn almost exclusively from Schuplinski, who served as the Patriots’ assistant quarterbacks coach the previous three seasons, and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea.

“[Flores] doesn’t need much help in that regard,” Caldwell said in February, when asked how he could help his new boss get his footing as a first-time coach. “He is excellent. He’s a guy that has great vision and foresight.

“Really, what I’m here for is I’m just here to help him do whatever he asks me to do,” he continued. “We have some very capable coaches. ... They’re very sharp guys, very bright, and my job is just to serve, just to help wherever I can.”

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores says he's living the dream as he speaks to the media before the start of a three-day voluntary minicamp at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.