Miami Dolphins

Dolphins cut LaMike James, sign new kick returner, among other moves

The Dolphins released running back/returner LaMike James on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. James fumbled in the opener against the Redskins and also had an altercation with teammate Jarvis Landry last week.
The Dolphins released running back/returner LaMike James on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. James fumbled in the opener against the Redskins and also had an altercation with teammate Jarvis Landry last week. AP

The Dolphins changed kick returners and backup centers and promoted a reserve tight end in a flurry of roster moves Monday.

Added to the 53-man roster: running back/kick returner Raheem Mostert, guard/center Jacques McClendon and tight end Jack Stoneburner.

Dropped from the 53-man roster: running back/returner LaMike James, running back Jonas Gray and guard Sam Brenner.

Gray and Brenner will return to the Dolphins’ practice squad if they aren’t claimed off waivers, according to their agents.

Mostert, claimed off the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad, is an undrafted rookie who averaged 26 yards per return on 88 kickoff returns at Purdue, including a nation-lead 33.5 yards per return as a freshman in 2012.

He led the NFL in total yards in preseason for the Eagles and averaged 32.4 yards on five kickoff returns, with a long of 67.

Mostert has a very good chance to be the Dolphins’ kick returner Sunday if he performs well in practice. He essentially replaces James, who was cut after fumbling a kickoff Sunday.

As a running back, Mostert averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 136 career rushing attempts at Purdue.

James and Jarvis Landry were involved in an altercation at the start of a special teams meeting last week, but coach Joe Philbin said nothing off-field figured into the decision to release James.

Landry, who scored on a 69-yard punt return on Sunday, is expected to continue handling punts.

As for Stoneburner’s promotion from the practice squad, the Dolphins need a second healthy tight end, to supplement starter Jordan Cameron, because Dion Sims sustained a concussion early in Sunday’s game. Philbin said it is too early to know how long Sims will be out.

The Dolphins’ decision to cut McClendon on Friday and re-sign him Monday was financially-driven. The Dolphins would have been obligated to pay McClendon his entire $745,000 salary this season if he had been on the roster at 4 p.m. Saturday.

NFL CLEARS SUH

▪ The NFL said Monday that Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did nothing wrong when he appeared to graze the head of Redskins running back Alfred Morris with his foot after a play on Sunday, and Suh won’t face any disciplinary action.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the play was reviewed by the league and “while there was contact between the players, Suh’s action was not deemed a kick.”

▪ DeVante Parker, coming off June foot surgery, played only one snap Sunday. What does Philbin need to see from Parker to incorporate him more in the game plan?

“That comfort level for everybody, for him, for us,” Philbin said. “That rhythm, the anticipation, trust versus certain coverages.”

▪ Safety Reshad Jones, who missed a few plays late in the game with a hamstring injury, said Monday he’s feeling fine.

▪ It’s too early to tell if defensive end Olivier Vernon will miss time with an ankle injury. He wasn’t at full strength Monday but wasn’t wearing a boot, either.

“He got leg-whipped in the shin,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “He’s a tough guy and wanted to come back out there but we could see he wasn’t himself.”

▪ Coyle said middle linebacker is now an open competition between Kelvin Sheppard and undrafted rookie Zach Vigil. Both played 19 defensive snaps Sunday, by design.

“Both did a good job,” Coyle said. “We will give them a chance to establish who may be the starter.”

Herald sports writer Adam Beasley contributed to this report.

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