James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer 21d

Miami Dolphins and LB Lawrence Timmons need each other

The Miami Dolphins reinstated starting outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons earlier than expected on Tuesday after the 10-year veteran went AWOL from the team on Sept. 16 and missed the game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Timmons missed one additional game during his indefinite suspension, which could have gone as long as four weeks, according to the collective bargaining agreement.

We may never know all the details of why Timmons left the team scrambling in Los Angeles 24 hours before Miami's regular-season opener. The Dolphins, with respect to Timmons' privacy, have been mum. Perhaps Timmons will explain to the media later this week.

But here is what we do know after two games: Miami needs Timmons and vice versa.

The Dolphins' linebacker corps has struggled the first two games, particularly against the pass. The Dolphins are coming off an embarrassing 20-6 loss to the lowly New York Jets. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 79 percent of their passes against Miami's defense this season. The Dolphins' run defense has been solid, but who knows if that will last after the team was 30th in the league against the run last season?

Timmons should provide a spark. He is Miami's most physical and best blitzing linebacker. Timmons has the potential to create havoc in the passing game and is physical against the run. These are the reasons the Dolphins signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract.

The Dolphins weren't happy about Timmons' surprise disappearance. But coach Adam Gase said last week that he is open to forgiving Timmons, who clearly wants to resume his football career. Right now, both sides need each other, and rest assured that Timmons said the right things to the team during his suspension. Now, he must further regain the Dolphins' trust through his actions.

Timmons' best course this week is to have a strong game for Miami (1-1) in London against the New Orleans Saints (1-2). A good week of practice and a solid performance by Timmons won't fully make up for going AWOL on the team, but it would be a move in the right direction.

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