LaMichael James took a risk when he requested his release from the 49ers early last season, frustrated after receiving just 41 carries in two-plus years.
He found a job with the Dolphins three weeks later, initially on the practice squad and then on the 53-man roster beginning in mid-November. But he had only three carries, for 9 yards.
Now the former Oregon star is challenging for the backup running back behind Lamar Miller. James, selected in the second round in 2012, has looked very good in training camp.
“I can do anything,” he said. “I can play receiver, running back, returner. … I love my chances against anybody. I just have to believe in myself.”
Asked to assess the battle for the No. 2 running back job, Joe Philbin on Thursday said: “I think Damien Williams has had a really good camp. LaMichael James has done well.
“Jay [Ajayi] is picking things up and improving. I really like the group.” He also mentioned Mike Gillislee’s work in the red zone.
Dallas Thomas (shoulder) and Koa Misi (calf) missed practice but both said neither of their injuries would keep them out an extended period. Louis Delmas, Cam Wake and Greg Jennings were given a “rest” day, and Will Davis sat out practice to rest his surgically-repaired knee.
▪ Jordan Phillips and emerging Anthony Johnson have received most of the second-team work at defensive tackle, leaving veteran CJ Mosley at risk. Mosley, 32, has played 10 years in the NFL and started eight games for Detroit last season.
Asked if Mosley will be on the team, Philbin was non-committal. He said merit is one of several factors in determining what players are used with the first and second teams.
SCRIMMAGE SET FOR FRIDAY
The Dolphins expect FIU Stadium to be near capacity, if not sold out completely, for Friday night’s intrasquad scrimmage.
With Sun Life Stadium unavailable because of renovations, the Dolphins decided to hold their annual practice game in Miami-Dade, where some 40 percent of their fan base lives.
As of Thursday morning, more than 12,000 tickets been sold. Tickets remain available at Dolphins.com and can also be purchased at the gate.
“We haven’t done a scrimmage down there, to our knowledge, since the [Don] Shula era,” said Jeremy Walls, the team’s chief revenue officer. “A lot of our fans have told us, we would love if you did something down that way — the Coral Gables, Kendall, Doral area. … This is one of the great venues down there that can hold a lot of people.”
Parking lots open at 4 p.m. and tailgating will be allowed. The practice starts at 6:30 p.m., with the scrimmage beginning at 7. Fireworks and player autographs will follow.
▪ The NFL directed the Dolphins and all teams to offer their season-ticket holders the opportunity to reserve non-binding playoff tickets — in August and September.
The Dolphins are giving their fans the chance to opt in if the team makes the playoffs. Those who sign up are committed to buy postseason tickets once the team qualifies, but will only be charged if the team hosts a game.
The move is in response to the embarrassing situation two years ago with the Green Packers, who needed help from local businesses to sell out their home wild-card game against the 49ers.
Herald sports writer Adam Beasley contributed to this report.