Barry Jackson

Dolphins’ Maualuga pronounces himself ready to go; Dolphins locker-room chatter

San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl) AP

Some notes from the first day that reporters were permitted inside the Dolphins’ locker-room since early January:

• Linebacker Rey Maualuga, who had been held out of some practices while working on his conditioning, said he participated in team drills on Monday, working some alongside starters Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons, and said he’s ready to play in a game.

“Slowly but surely, I’m getting there,” he said. “We Somoans tend to be big boned. I feel good. I’m preparing as if I’m going to play” in the opener against Tampa Bay.

Maualuga, who signed Aug. 19 - more than a week after Raekwon McMillan’s season-ending knee injury - reported at 270 pounds and said he has met Miami’s target weight (mid 250s).

Asked if he expects to be a starter, as he has been for most of his career in Cincinnati, he said: “That’s everyone’s dream. Everyone would want” to start.

Adam Gase declined to say when asked If Maualuga will start.

Maulauga finally has a number - the 58 he has worn throughout his career.

Linebacker Brandon Watts, who had that number when Maualuga signed with Miami, asked Maualuga for an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for the number.

Maualuga said he would have paid Watts the money if Watts had made the team but instead opted to wait it out. Watts was waived on Friday.

“Seventy two was the only number available and I would be a laughing stock if I wore 72,” he said.

Maualuga has been very good against the run for most of his career, but Pro Football Focus rated him at nearly the bottom among linebackers in that category last season. Have his skills declined?

“I feel like I haven’t lost a step,” he said. “That’s for you guys to decide when I get out there. I feel great about myself and this scheme. Same scheme I ran the past eight years in Cincinnati. That was a big plus for me.”

• New kicker Cody Parkey said he grew up a Dolphins fan in Jupiter and was “very surprised” when Miami claimed him off waivers from Cleveland on Sunday.

He said Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum called him and told him “I was their guy and they have confidence in me.”

Parkey said he would attend about one Dolphins game a year as a youngster and still gets Dolphins score updates on his cell phone.

“This is pretty awesome,” he said. “I was pretty stoked.”

Parkey went 20 for 25 on field goals last season, but three of his misses were in his one game in Miami, a Week 3 Dolphins win against the Browns.

“I had a bad game,” he said. “I own it. I had a bad game but came back and had a good season.”

And this summer, “I went from a really good camp in Cleveland to being cut.”

• Anthony Steen was pleased to win the left guard job, at least for now.

He said last season, when he was asked for play center for the first time, “I was a nervous wreck all the games. Hopefully I won’t be as nervous” this season.

• We’re told the Dolphins originally planned to re-sign Sam Young next week but did it this weekend instead after another team offered him a contract. Keep in mind that veterans on the roster for the first game are guaranteed their contracts for the season; those signed after that are not.

The Dolphins guaranteed Young’s contract for the season.

• Ryan Tannehill was walking in the locker-room, without any visible limp but with visible stitches in his left knee, a couple of weeks after knee surgery. Tannehill, who was in good spirits, is expected back before the start of next season.

This is the fourth of four posts today. Please click here for more Dolphins nuggets. Please click here for a look at the computer whiz who is quietly contributing to Marlins personnel decisions.

And please click here for news on the Heat’s Josh Richardson, Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters and some UM notes, including why Carolina claimed Brad Kaaya... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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