It's not easy to misplace a 340-pound defensive tackle, but the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins seem to have done just that. And unless someone soon locates Dan Wilkinson, the defensive tackle in question, the trade in which Denver acquired the 13-year veteran from Miami could be voided.
According to the conditions of the March 3 trade, in which the Broncos sent the Dolphins a sixth-round draft pick in exchange for Wilkinson, the veteran tackle must report for a physical examination by Friday. A failure to do so will nullify the trade, unless the two teams agree to extend the deadline.
The problem: Wilkinson, who acknowledged in the wake of the trade that he had "some issues" to address before reporting to the Broncos, has not arranged a trip to Denver for the physical and has not returned phone calls from either team.
Wilkinson, 34, has considered retirement in recent seasons. He is also notorious for trying to avoid offseason conditioning programs and even training camp. He did not sign with the Dolphins last summer until well into camp.
The Broncos, who have made a habit in recent years of trading for onetime high-round defensive linemen, definitely want Wilkinson and feel that, despite his age, he can play well in their tackle rotation. But as a contingency, the Broncos met this week with a pair of unrestricted free agent tackles, Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott, both of the Chicago Bears.
Depending on how things play out with Wilkinson, the Broncos could pursue one of the free agents.
Wilkinson is still regarded as a solid defender versus the run but is coming off a 2006 season in which he registered just 14 tackles in 10 games. Once capable of providing plenty of inside push on the pass rush, Wilkinson did not have a sack in 2006.
A former Ohio State star, Wilkinson was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals to lead off the '94 draft. After four seasons with the Bengals, and a contentious relationship with the front office when dealing on contract matters, he was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1998.
Wilkinson played five seasons in Washington, where he was very productive, then signed with the Lions in 2003.
In 195 career appearances, Wilkinson has 386 tackles, 54½ sacks, seven forced fumbles, four recoveries, five interceptions and 28 pass deflections.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.