DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins took the practice field Monday for the first time since cutting six-time Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson over the weekend. There were various reactions from the Dolphins, including linebacker Karlos Dansby, who felt the team reacted too quickly.
Miami head coach Joe Philbin provided his explanation for cutting Johnson following charges of misdemeanor domestic abuse. According to Philbin, the decision was not "reactive" or based on one incident.
"It was more of a body of evidence from June 11 forward," Philbin explained. "When he came in on June 11, we sat down and we talked. I was very clear the expectations of the program, and it just didn’t work out. It’s more about the fit. In my gut, I didn’t feel the fit was going to be benificial for either party in the short-term or long-term."
The feeling around the Dolphins is Philbin played a huge role in cutting Johnson so swiftly. Philbin is a first-year head coach trying to establish his program in Miami. His personality is very different from Johnson, and the two already butted heads (no pun intended) over Johnson's offensive language during a news conference. The Dolphins and Philbin sent a stern message that the new head coach won't tolerate off-the-field distractions.
Besides, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has put up with off-the-field issues in the past, particularly with Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall. Ireland never acted so swift with Marshall, leading many to believe Philbin's fingerprints are all over cutting Johnson. It is also not a coincidence Miami traded Marshall after hiring Philbin, who is putting a ton of focus on character, regardless of what teammates think.
"I hate that we didn't stand behind him," Dansby said on WMEN-AM in Florida Monday morning. "I know the guys in the locker room would. But the organization felt a totally different way about the situation, and they probably had more information than we know. And they had to do what they had to do.
"It's going to be an even bigger distraction right now, I think, because of the simple fact we let him go. I think if we were going to be with the guy, if he was going to be our guy, we have to stand behind him -- even though the situation came about. He didn't get that third strike."
Dansby stood behind his comments after practice, but didn't want to elaborate. Philbin shrugged off Dansby's comments.
“Let’s be honest: You have a boss, I have a boss and I don’t always agree with what the boss says every single time,” Philbin said. “I’m of the opinion that you should keep things in-house in that regard.”
An interesting development was Johnson's agent -- Drew Rosenhaus -- attending Monday's practice. Rosenhaus even had a chat brief chat with Ireland after practice, although it's not known if they were discussing Johnson. Rosenhaus also represents other Dolphins such as defensive lineman Jared Odrick, receiver Brian Hartline and rookies Lamar Miller and Olivier Vernon.
It's also worth pointing out Rosenhaus represents free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress. Philbin didn't rule out the Dolphins looking outside the organization to bolster the receiving corps. Burress worked out for the New England Patriots on Sunday.
But whether the Dolphins sign another player or stick with the group they have, it's clear the Philbin regime wants a clean locker room void of distractions.
"I think we have a strong locker room," Philbin said. "I believe in the character of these individuals, and the men we have on this football team. We’re going to move forward."