Armando Salguero

Lawrence Timmons eventually back on the Miami Dolphins? Yes

Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons will not play this weekened at the New York Jets.
Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons will not play this weekened at the New York Jets. AP

Did he kill somebody? Did Lawrence Timmons assault someone? Did the linebacker go AWOL from the Miami Dolphins this weekend because he raised his hand to a woman, a coach or anyone?

Was there any crime involved in Timmons reporting for the team walk-thru last Saturday afternoon but being unaccounted for at curfew that night until he was found at Los Angeles International Airport early Sunday morning?

I don’t know the answer to these questions but he hasn’t been arrested or charged with any crime.

So what are we talking about here, other than a betrayal?

Well, that’s it. Timmons lost his mind hours before the Dolphins season-opener against the Los Angeles Chargers and left his team without notice. And that departure feels like treachery to Dolphins coach Adam Gase and others within the organization because Timmons was supposed to be an important member of the team.

Timmons was a key component on an already depleted linebacker corps. He was important to the team’s success. He knew it.

And he left the team anyway.

So that’s obviously selfish and thoughtless.

But can we have a little perspective here?

Timmons broke trust. He didn’t break the team.

So his sin requires penance and that’s what Timmons is going through now. He’s suspended indefinitely without pay -- a punishment that could last as long as four weeks and cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Timmons also has forfeited any ability to be a leader in a Dolphins locker room that initially considered him among that group despite his limited time on the roster. Sorry, Larry, your actions come with a cost and one of those is you can never demand anything of your teammates or never implore your teammates to follow your lead.

But gone? Forever? Free to sign with another team?

That’s rash. That’s the emotional reaction. It’s not logical.

And that reaction, meant to seal a perceived breach on the team, would effectively create a huge gap on the field. Think about that because professional football is about one thing: Winning games.

That’s it.

It’s not about creating a family atmosphere or nurturing a brotherhood. Teams preach family and brotherhood but it is the biggest bunch of hooey ever because those same teams jettison family members without compassion when it suits them. The brothers, meanwhile, see another brother get cut or traded or benched and simply move on.

Family? I remind you the Miami Dolphins turned their back on Dan Marino at the end of his career.

So don’t tell me this or any team is a family.

NFL teams are a money-making, game-winning, enterprise. That’s it. That’s all.

And a rehabilitated Timmons can help the Dolphins in that endeavor. So it is incumbent upon everyone to give Timmons a second chance to make a first-game impression.

Coach Adam Gase wisely left that door ajar on Wednesday.

After he fled every question having to do with Timmons as if they were infected with a flesh eating virus, I asked Gase if players who step outside the bounds of the team culture can be forgiven a transgression.

And for a moment the coach softened.

“I think every situation is different,” said Gase, obviously understanding my general question was in the context of Timmons. “And I would say you can be forgiven if the right steps are taken.”

I don’t know what practical steps relative to the cause of his departure Timmons has to take. I don’t know if he needs to see doctors or counselors or a pastor to get his body, mind and soul right.

But professionally, Timmons these next few weeks has to walk a path that gets him back to being someone who can be trusted. He is allowed no more screw ups. No excuses.

That trust will never rise to the level Timmons enjoyed before this sad episode. That’s gone forever. I dare say the Dolphins will hold their breath whenever they knock on Timmons’ door during future bed checks.

But if he apologizes to coaches and teammates -- a majority of the players are already predisposed to forgiving him -- and he shows he’s still the professional who never seemed to have an episode in Pittsburgh the past decade, then Timmons should be able to get back on the team.

And that’s what should happen.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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