DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins, rocked by a bullying scandal last season, are now wearing T-shirts bearing a credo of togetherness that was coined by the players.
One by one some of the members of the offense and defense removed their shoulder pads Wednesday and changed into the new gray shirt. On the back was a list of 10 sayings bordered by the words “I am a Miami Dolphin” that encompass their approach to the upcoming season.
Among the sayings that bring to mind last year’s scandal involving former offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin is this one. “If I see something — I will say something — I commit to call it as it is.”
Head coach Joe Philbin applauded the gesture made by his players.
“I think the best way to do things is to give them some ownership and let them feel like I’m not coming down from the mountaintop and saying this is a must and this is a mandate,” Philbin said. “I thought they did a good job. I thought they gave some consideration and some thought to it and I think it’s good. Probably ‘I’m a professional,’ is one of them I like. But I think I like them all. They’re all good, but that one sticks to me. It’s kind of all encompassing, entails a lot. ‘Team first,’ too. Maybe I like team first better. I’m trying to picture the T-shirt.”
Considering that Philbin has come up with plenty of his own rules, he joked that some of the players think he has too many and that he’s “a little stiff.” He had approached a group of veterans during the offseason to emphasize his desire for them to take ownership of the team. The idea for an official credo came naturally.
Defensive end Cameron Wake, a three-time Pro Bowler, had showed off a T-shirt last year in the locker room that he and other members of the defense designed specifically for defensive players. That one was adorned with the words “Respect The Brotherhood” on the back surrounding a military style logo, so he was probably a good person to go to with the new shirt.
Fellow defensive lineman Jared Odrick also was one of the players approached by Philbin.
“I think it means a lot,” Odrick, a first-round draft pick in 2010, said of the T-shirts. “I think it gives us a visualization, something that we see every day, to try to embody every day in the locker room and onto the field. It’s something that helps because you’re there reading on everybody’s shirt. And it’s words that we’ve actually said. It’s words that have come out of our mouths.”
Notes: Wide receiver Mike Wallace and center Sam Brenner both were kept out of practice. Brenner was carted off the field Tuesday during practice. The two players joined Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and free agent running back Knowshon Moreno as spectators. Pouncey is recovering from hip surgery that is expected to cost him at least the first month of the regular season and Moreno is coming off of knee surgery.