LaMichael James aims to earn spot in Miami

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey had an extended talk with new running back LaMichael James following his first practice on Wednesday. According to James, the pair talked about a new opportunity and making the most of a second chance with a different team.

The former 2012 second-round pick began with the San Francisco 49ers with a lot of promise. But few opportunities led to frustration and there were reports that James asked for his release, although James did not elaborate Wednesday when asked by the Miami media.

“It’s whatever everybody wants to think, you know,” James said of his release last month. “I’m not going to dwell on the past. It’s a great group of guys over there. They gave me an opportunity to come in there. I just want to say thank you to those guys and that’s all it is."

James’ second NFL opportunity comes in Miami.

The Dolphins brought James in for a visit two weeks ago but declined to take Miami's initial offer to join the practice squad. James said he actually contacted the Dolphins the second time and told them he's ready. Miami added James to the practice squad, where James has to earn his keep.

James says he’s staying humble being the low man on the totem pole. The Dolphins have a lot of tailbacks ahead of James on the active roster, including starter Lamar Miller and backups Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa. Knowshon Moreno also is scheduled to eventually return from an elbow injury.

“Nothing is given, everything is earned,” James said. “I do know that. With that said, it’s not fair to all the other guys who have been here in training camp, and the offseason working hard learning the offense. It’s not fair to those guys.

“I have to come in here and work hard. I can’t just come in here and say, ‘Hey, I was drafted in the second round. It’s time to go!’”

James eventually has the potential to help the Dolphins in several areas. He’s a speedy and shifty runner who could fit well in Bill Lazor’s spread and zone-read offense. James averaged 4.5 yards per carry in limited chances with the 49ers.

Miami’s kick and punt returns also could use a boost, and James did both with the 49ers. That may be the fastest way for James to work his way up to the 53-man roster.

"He’s got a lot of skill. He’s a talented guy," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. "He’s got good ball skills, he’s got speed. We just got him out there today. We’ll have a chance to work with him a little bit and see what comes of it."