DAVIE, Fla. -- There was a rare changing of the guard at punter for the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.
Veteran Brandon Fields will not handle the punting duties in Miami for the first time in nine seasons. The Dolphins instead will go with undrafted rookie Matt Darr from the University of Tennessee. Fields was Miami’s second-longest tenured player behind long-snapper John Denney.
Here is a clue of how big of an upset this was: Darr still shares a locker with fellow rookie kicker Andrew Franks, although that is about to change very soon when Miami trims its roster to 53 players on Saturday.
“It’s incredible,” Darr said after Tuesday's practice. “It hasn’t really set in. I’m still kind of processing everything. But this is just one of those goals that I’ve had for myself for so long. To finally have that come true is pretty amazing.”
The Dolphins showed a lot of confidence to go with a rookie punter in an important year for Miami. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is 23-25 in three seasons and most likely has to post a winning record to keep his job. Miami also could have a rookie punter and rookie kicker if Franks beats out incumbent Caleb Sturgis.
Philbin said he is confident Darr will do well as Fields' replacement this season.
“We think he’s our best option at punter in 2015,” Philbin said. “You guys have been in practice. I’ve watched him. That was our decision.”