Dolphins RB and former Cane Mark Walton talks about his troubled off season
Dolphins running back Mark Walton will serve no further jail time for his three 2019 arrests after reaching a global plea deal with prosecutors Monday — assuming he stays out of trouble going forward.
Walton pleaded no contest to his felony gun possession charge, which was reduced to open carrying of a weapon, a second-degree misdemeanor.
He will serve six months of non-reporting administrative probation and must take four hours of driving school after pleading guilty to reckless driving. Walton also pleaded guilty to resisting arrest without violence after fleeing a traffic stop.
As part of the deal, his two misdemeanor marijuana charges have been dismissed, as has the misdemeanor battery charge from when Walton knocked a cell phone out of a woman’s hand outside his Brickell apartment.
The big question moving forward: Will the NFL suspend him?
The league could, if it finds Walton violated the personal conduct policy. The NFL has monitored the developments and the matter remains under review.
Walton’s three arrests came in a course of a couple of months, the most serious of which involved weed and a 9 mm carbine rifle with several loaded clips that police say was illegally concealed in the backseat of his rented sedan. After getting pulled over, Walton ran and was able to escape, despite getting tased.
But the state’s case wasn’t air-tight. Defense attorney Michael Gottlieb petitioned a few weeks back to have the charge dropped because “his due process rights were violated by egregious police misconduct.”
In the end, Walton pleaded to reduced charges and avoided real jail time.
Walton, the former University of Miami star, started Friday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers and has a real chance to make the Dolphins as their No. 3 running back.
“I just go in the now,” Walton told the Miami Herald earlier this month. “You can’t go back in the past and say, ‘I wish I could remove this and do that.’ I’m more of a future guy, just moving on, so I think me working hard is just showing everybody what I can really do.”
Coach Brian Flores indicated the Dolphins would move forward with its current starting lineup, a quintet featuring two rookie guards — third round pick Michael Deiter and undrafted Shaq Calhoun.
That lineup also has Jesse Davis at right tackle after taking every snap at right guard last season, with Laremy Tunsil at left tackle and Daniel Kolgore at center.
The Dolphins opened training camp with Chris Reed at left guard and Jordan Mills at right tackle but shifted to the current group on Day 5, after Dave DeGuglielmo replaced dismissed Pat Flaherty as offensive line coach.
“I feel good about the five guys that are rolling right now,” Flores said. “The two young guys are improving and developing. The communication is improving. They’re working well together. There can always be improvement. I like what I’ve seen from those five guys.
“When Jesse speaks, people listen. He’s doing a lot of things well. He’s a guy who’s helping some of those young guys.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Deiter allowed only one pressure (a sack) in 30 pass blocking chances on Friday and was very effective as a run blocker, which is considered his strength.
Safety Reshad Jones, who had missed three weeks with a foot injury, returned to practice Monday, as did receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring).
But four linebackers remain sidelined: Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillan, Andrew Van Ginkel and Chase Allen. Three receivers also did not participate Monday: DeVante Parker, Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson.
Flores was non-committal about whether Wilson - who has been sidelined with a hip injury sustained in Game 7 last season - would play Thursday against visiting Jacksonville (8 p.m., Fox).
Also missing from Monday’s practice: running back Kenyan Drake (sustained a foot injury in a joint practice with Tampa last week) and safeties T.J. McDonald and Walt Aikens.
▪ Flores said he will use “some starters” on special teams this season: “We’ll have the best 11 guys out there in the kicking game. That’s a very important phase.”
▪ Flores has been impressed with undrafted California rookie Patrick Laird, who has rushed for 75 yards on 13 carries in preseason (5.8 per carry).
“He does everything right,” Flores said. “He’s had a good camp so far. He’s earned some more opportunities and has taken advantage of them.”