Greg Cote

Greg Cote: It’s time to reinstate Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson

Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York.
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. AP

Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice – the faces on the poster for football’s off-field controversies and image problem – both should be reinstated by the NFL and have the opportunity to resume their careers.

This isn’t condoning Peterson using a small branch to discipline his 4-year-old son by lashing him, or Rice knocking down his then-fiancée’ in an elevator. But each player has done his time in games missed and public shame. To continue their purgatory would be unduly punitive of commissioner Roger Goodell.

The NFL’s new policy on domestic violence will call for a six-game suspension for a first-time offense. Well, Peterson and Rice both were first-time offenders, and both already have missed more than six games. Peterson has missed seven (and counting) since playing in the Vikings’ opener, and Rice has not played at all this season and the Ravens released him. Both remain indefinitely suspended by the NFL.

Peterson reached a plea agreement this week to a misdemeanor, meaning the legal system regards what he did as a minor offense. Missing half a season is more than enough for that.

Rice originally was suspended two games, served that, then was suspended again when the release of a video by TMZ caused a public outcry. What he’d done didn’t change, yet the sentence did. That feels like double jeopardy, what his lawyer rightly called “enhanced punishment for the same violation.”

This isn’t about being lenient with Peterson and Rice. It’s about being fair.

TANNEHILL’S LEGS

Only three quarterbacks in the past 25 seasons have had a run of 20-plus yards in four straight games: Steve Young, Michael Vick and, now, Ryan Tannehill. His designed runs and the built-in option to do so have been a big part of the Dolphins’ surge.

Tannehill’s 245 yards rushing at midseason (with a big 7.9 average) project to 490 for the year. That would shatter the club season record for a QB, 321 yards by Jay Fiedler in 2001.

Bob Griese’s long-standing Miami career mark of 994 yards rushing by a quarterback also is under siege. Tannehill has 694 in 2 ½ seasons, including three of the nine 200-yard seasons in club history. Others were by David Woodley (1980-82), Jay Fiedler (2000-01) and Griese (1968).

Yes, the chance of injury makes it ripe for second-guessing, but it’s a smart risk. Miami is averaging 26.4 points. Only four Fins seasons have seen a higher average: Perfect 1972, and 1984-86, when Dan Marino was in full, record-setting bloom.

SCATTER-SHOOTING

▪ Updated Super Bowl betting odds via Bovada: Broncos still tops at 7-2, following by Patriots 6-1 and Seahawks 8-1. Dolphins now 50-1, up from 66-1.

▪ Seven straight 300s have Colt Andrew Luck right on pace to challenge the all-time passing yards mark. Luck projects to 5,484. Peyton Manning’s record, set last year, is 5,477. The passing fancy is hardly just Luck. NFL is on record pace for passing yards per game (487.8) and TD passes per game (3.43).

▪ Cowboy DeMarco Murray (now projected 2,014) has fallen off pace to threaten Eric Dickerson’s 1984 rushing record of 2,105 yards. No receiver is challenging Calvin Johnson’s 2012 mark of 1,964.

▪ What a third straight win meant: Makenflplayoffs.com computers now have Dolphins with 42.1 percent postseason chance, seventh in jockeying for six AFC spots. Last week Miami stood 10th at 34.3 percent.

▪ Dolphins-Jets 2015 London game in Week 4 is designated a Miami home game, which means you, Dolfan, get realistically cheated out of your chance to boo the team you most love to boo.

▪ Hall of Famer Reggie White averaged 0.85 sacks per game, third all-time. Two current players are 1-2: Aldon Smith at 0.98 and Von Miller at 0.92. (Fins’ Cam Wake? He’s at 0.68).

▪ You know how NFL teams talk about wanting to “separate themselves”? It’s happening, for good and ill. Thirteen teams currently have either won (6) or lost (7) at least three games in a row.

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