Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Dolphins and football are back! No guarantees, but it beats the alternative

Crisp routes: Greg Jennings, right, has impressed Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in offseaon workouts.
Crisp routes: Greg Jennings, right, has impressed Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in offseaon workouts. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Football, at last!

The Heat and Panthers are done and hibernating. The Marlins drone on through an injury-wracked wreck of a season.

Now, to the rescue: A Dolphins team that hasn’t won a championship in more than four decades.

Hey, we take what we can get, right?

Actually the Fins are supposed to be pretty good this season, maybe playoff good, as training camp opens Thursday at the club’s Davie facility.

The Miami Hurricanes and FIU take the field about a week later.

It has been a while — the 2000 season, to be exact — since the Dolphins and Canes both were good enough simultaneously to win an NFL playoff game and a college bowl game the same season.

Will this season end the drought?

For a change, expectations seem higher for the Dolphins, who are energized by a new receiving corps, a well-regarded draft and the acquisition of Ndamukong Suh. Nabbing free agent guard Evan Mathis would complete the offseason bounty.

Meantime, the massive refurbishing of Dolphins stadium continues and might not be totally done by the first exhibition game. The club warns there might be “Pardon Our Dust” signs visible as the preseason begins.

No word yet whether there also will be signs reading, “Pardon Our Not Winning a Super Bowl in 41 years.”

▪ Wednesday is “Writers Night” at Marlins Park, with a select number of contest-winning fans watching the game in the company of Miami Herald sportswriters. One of the winners will then be chosen at random for the Grand Prize: Getting to ditch the writers and return to his regular seat.

▪ ESPN removed radio host Colin Cowherd from its air after widespread criticism met his suggestion that Dominican baseball players lacked intelligence. Maybe Cowherd saw that making idiotic, insulting statements seemed to be working for Donald Trump and thought he’d give it a try, too!

▪ ESPN’s projected top 10 NBA free agents for 2016 does not include Dwyane Wade but has Hassan Whiteside ranked No. 8. Weird situation this season for the Heat: The team would love a huge breakout season by Whiteside, but he’d be so much cheaper to keep if he regressed.

▪ Chris Froome was so dominant in the Tour de France that everybody figured he must cheating. There’s your legacy, Lance Armstrong. Way to go.

▪ Dodgers aces Zack Greinke (43 2/3) and Clayton Kershaw (29) entered the weekend with 72 2/3 combined shutout innings in a row. Um, can the Marlins borrow a few of those? Don’t be greedy, Los Angeles.

▪ Zach Johnson’s British Open win following Jordan Speith’s Masters and U.S. Open triumphs could make 2015 the first year since 1982 that U.S. golfers win all four majors. Too bad golf with its “Quiet Please” signs would frown upon a good loud “U.S.A!” chant.

▪ NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the league is headed to conference seeding by best eight overall records, diminishing the value of a division title. That makes sense for all sports. Unless it doesn’t benefit my team one year. Then I’m against it.

▪ Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame: May we assume, in refusing to let Junior Seau’s family speak for him at next month’s posthumous Hall of Fame induction, that you are intentionally trying to make yourself seem heartless and small?

▪ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said a ruling on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s suspension appeal was near. Now he says there is no timetable. Sometime soon, the NFL is going to surprise us and do something right.

▪ New Bills running back LeSean McCoy went on Instagram to invite “females only” to a party in Philadelphia, requiring they sign a confidentiality agreement. Have you noticed? The real NFL and a script from HBO’s Ballers are becoming indistinguishable.

▪ Dolphins undrafted free agent tackle Mickey Baucus announced his retirement. A video of Baucus’ Miami career highlights will air tonight from 7 p.m. to 7:01 p.m..

▪ PGA Tour golfer Robert Allenby fired his caddie mid-round, the fourth time he has done that. Dear future Allenby caddies: Confine your comments to, “Great shot, Bob!”

▪ Opponents continue to complain about the unorthodox delivery of Marlins reliever Carter Capps. Dear opponents: Unless he’s throwing unpinned grenades, shut up and hit.

▪ The annual WNBA All-Star Game was Saturday and the MLS all-stars play Wednesday. Still intact: My incredible personal record of having never watched a single second of either.

▪ Answer: U.S. Department of Justice quietly dropped its 10-year investigation of Barry Bonds with no ultimate conviction. Question: Why do people always say the government wastes so much money?

▪ Amelie Mauresmo, who won two of the 49 Grand Slam events she entered, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and the general reaction was, “Why!?”

▪ Sad: Adidas hosting a lavish VIP party to unveil its new Hurricanes football uniforms. Sadder: Your Friend the Media swallowing the PR hook and covering it as if it were actual news.

▪ Parting thought: The professional Electronic Sports League said it would start testing its players for performance-enhancing drugs. Great. It isn’t embarrassing enough you make your living as a video gamer, now you have to cheat, too!?

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.

Hot list

Today: Dolphins and Hurricanes quarterbacks. The top five highest combined yardage totals for the Dolphins’ and UM’s leading passers in one season:

Total

Year

Quarterbacks

8,726

1984

Dan Marino, 5,084 | Bernie Kosar, 3,642

7,549

1988

Marino, 4,434 | Steve Walsh, 3,115

7,375

1985

Marino, 4,137 | Vinny Testaverde, 3,238

7,303

1986

Marino, 4,746 | Testaverde, 2,557

7,243

2014

Ryan Tannehill, 4,045 | Brad Kaaya, 3,198

1. DOLPHINS

Fins open training camp in four days: The lid on the Dolphins’ 50th anniversary season lifts Thursday as training camp opens with two weeks of work leading to the first preseason game Aug. 13. Many think Miami could be a playoff team for a change. “Pessimism hasn’t worked,” note Dolfans. “Might as well give optimism a shot!”

2. MARLINS

Remember them? Fish set to return home (finally): The Marlins are back Tuesday against the Nationals with Jose Fernandez pitching, Miami’s first home game in 16 days. Meantime, the Fish traded Steve Cishek for a minor leaguer, and more deals are likely before the July 31 deadline. In other words, there’s 60-plus games left, but the season is over.

3. HURRICANES

UM sees “accountability” as football nears: Al Golden is talking up intangibles such as accountability and leadership as UM nears its Aug. 6 start of practice. “One heartbeat,” he says. Call it Camp Kumbaya. Now if the Canes can just replace Duke Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Denzel Perryman and four other NFL draftees, they might be OK.

4. BASEBALL

Pitchers lead incoming Hall of Fame class: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, who combined for 735 pitching victories, join Craig Biggio in the latest Hall of Fame induction class Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y. Johnson stands out. The 10-time All-Star won 303 games, struck out 4,875 and is the sport’s all-time career leader in mullets.

5. CYCLING

Tour de France reaches its finish line on Sunday: It looked, entering the weekend, as if Great Britain’s Chris Froome might win the the 102nd edition of a race beset by recent doping scandals. How boring. Why couldn’t the upset winner be a 9-year-old kid riding an old beat-up Schwinn with baseball cards flapping in the spokes?

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