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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Jason Taylor elected to Hall of Fame…Lynch and Boselli left out

Roy Cummings

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(Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2017 could have a real Florida flair to it, what with one player from each of the state’s three teams among the 15 finalists garnering consideration.

Instead it will have only a South Florida flair to it.

Former Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, in his first year of eligibility, made the cut while former Buccaneers safety John Lynch and former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli did not.

Other members of the 2017 class include kicker Morten Andersen, running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and safety Kenny Easley.

For Taylor, the nod puts the cap on a career in which he made his way onto six Pro Bowl teams, earned three All-Pro nods and was named the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The 2006 season was one of six in which Taylor recorded 10 or more sacks, an accomplishment that helped him earn a spot on the NFL’s All Decade Team for the 2000s.

Checkout this exclusive video from the Dolphins social media team, as Taylor found out earlier tonight about his election from a knock at his Houston hotel door and Hall of Fame President David Baker:

Riveting stuff!

Meanwhile, back to the accolades, Taylor’s best season, at least from a sack standpoint, was the 2002 in which he recorded 18.5. He went on to record 139.5, the sixth most in league history. He also finished his career as the all-time leader in fumble returns for touchdowns with six, and his 246 fumble return yards are the second highest total in NFL history.

Taylor’s nine career defensive touchdowns are the most ever for an NFL defensive linemen.

Taylor spent his first 11 seasons with the Dolphins, then spent a year (2008) playing for the Redskins before returning to Miami for the 2009 season.

He left Miami again for the 2010 season, playing that one for the Jets, but he returned to the Dolphins to finish out his career in 2011, recording seven sacks in 16 games (two starts).

Meanwhile, it was nine time Pro Bowler Lynch’s fourth time to be on the ballot, but as we detailed earlier today, it’s hard for true safeties without big stats to get in to the Hall and he was “left at the altar,” again.

As for Boselli, he made the finalist list but the man regarded as the standard at left tackle in the mid-late 90’s for Jacksonville, including 3 straight All-Pro selections, was also bypassed by the voters.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins moving eventually to new facility near Hard Rock Stadium?

Florida Football Insiders

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not as earth shattering as a huge free agent signing or hosting a playoff game, but the fact that the Dolphins are close to moving locations from their current training complex in Davie to a more convenient one next to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is a big deal.

The Miami Herald had the  details on Saturday:

From the Herald’s item, there is definitely some competitive interest in luring the Dolphins away:

Miami Gardens might defray the cost of security in and around Hard Rock Stadium to help seal the deal, and Miami-Dade County could amend the existing stadium renovation agreement that pays the Dolphins a bonus for hosting major events.

“Twenty-five years ago, the Dolphins moved their football headquarters from North Dade to Davie, and I’ve wanted them back ever since,” Miami Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan said. “When I heard Mr. Ross was considering a new $50 million practice facility in Broward, I knew we had to have a conversation about bringing this massive private investment to Miami-Dade. To me, it’s a perfect fit for our community and will bring a lot of economic activity to Miami-Dade.”

Added Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert: “From Top Golf to the Super Bowl, Miami Gardens has become a destination for world-class entertainment, and venues that attract visitors on a consistent basis are a critical component of economic development. Between the Miami Open and Miami Dolphins training camp, we can generate $100 million-plus in privately funded construction, hundreds of good-paying jobs, a significant boost to our tax base and new opportunities for residents to live, work and play. It would be great to bring the Miami Dolphins training facility back home to the 305.”

So, clearly there’s some “wooing” going on, and if Fins owner Stephen Ross is going to privately fund the new facility to the tune of at least $50 and maybe as high as, $75 million, then there is ample reason to try to lure them. Ross has already put over $500 million of his own money into a three year renovation of Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins training adjacent to the stadium where they play or in the same complex area, is not uncommon. In the cases of Florida’s other two NFL teams: the Jaguars train adjacent to TIAA Bank Field, and the Bucs complex is across the street from Raymond James Stadium.

And, there are other examples of the Bengals, the Texans, and the Patriots who train either next to or in the same complex as where they play on Sundays.

The reality is that the new facility will not be ready for at least another two seasons, no matter where it’s located. Still, the convenience and new design will also be an asset for the Dolphins to attract players, too.

Now it’s up to the franchise to decide where and how soon, they want to build.

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Miami Dolphins

DeMarco Murray retired or still in play for teams like Dolphins and Jaguars?

Florida Football Insiders

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday afternoon, former Pro Bowl RB DeMarco Murray made an announcement on ESPN that he is “retiring” from the NFL. We put it in quotes, because we are skeptical that the 30 year old Murray is actually “retiring.”

Rather, he may have been using his opportunity as a guest analyst on the “NFL Live” show the last two days to essentially, create some buzz and perhaps an opportunity to sign on with a team later this month or as preseason gets underway.

First, here was Murray, who played for the Titans the last two seasons, making his decision, for now:

Now, one of the teams that Murray had serious talks with was the Dolphins. However, that was back in March and eventually, Miami chose not to sign him. Instead, they inked veteran and Miami native, Frank Gore.

Back to Murray, he also took a visit with the Lions, and after the NFL suspended Saints RB Mark Ingram for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, New Orleans contacted him.

However, the seven year veteran Murray refused to work out with a group of prospective running backs and the Saints.New Orleans elected to sign former Browns running back Terrance West.

An obvious “red flag” that has hindered Murray is his lack of 2017 production. Murray’s 659 yards in 15 games were the fewest of his career and his 3.6 average matched his career worst (his dreadful 2015 one year in Philly).

The other is that Murray may have “priced himself out” of an opportunity. He has been paid on average over $7 million the last three seasons with the Eagles and then, 2016-17 with the Titans. The Eagles originally gave him a five year $40 million dollar deal with a $5 million signing bonus in 2015.
The Titans traded for Murray the next off season and re-worked that deal giving him $12.5 million as a signing bonus to help their cap situation.

Now, despite what he announced, Murray could still have value to a team. In the Dolphins case, not only did the they sign Gore, but they drafted running back Kalen Ballage in April. So, unless Gore is injured, Murray is not as needed.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars have second year power back Leonard Fournette, who will be the primary ball carrier, but they let veteran Chris Ivory go and he signed with the Bills. Jacksonville also has backup T.J. Yeldon, who filled in well for a couple of games with Fournette either injured or on a one game suspension.

Still, Murray could be a veteran that helps the Jaguars, if they want and he would agree to a lesser deal than what he’s been making.

And there are obviously more teams that may have an injury during camp or preseason that could call Murray, too.

Then, we’ll find out if his “retiring” in early July is for real.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins announced six new members to “Walk of Fame” Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

While Dolphins fans will be most concerned with training camp and the short term future (2018 season), Tuesday was a brief time to get nostalgic with some former Fins greats.

That’s because the team announced six new players into their re-furbished “Walk of Fame” at Hard Rock Stadium to be honored at the December 2nd home game with the Bills.

Hall of Famer defensive end Jason Taylor, former Pro Bowl safety and member of the undefeated 1972 Superbowl champs Dick Anderson, the dynamic wide receiving “Marks Brothers” of the 1980’s Mark Duper (shown above) and Mark Clayton, multi-time Pro Bowl linebacker John Offerdahl, and little heralded left tackle of the 1980’s John Giesler make up the 2018 class.

Here’s more from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel at Tuesday afternoon’s announcement:

And, Mike Persak reported on reactions and comments from Duper and Offerdahl Tuesday:

“We don’t realize how much the Dolphins really is involved in the community in South Florida,” Duper said. “… And it’s a great feeling just knowing you’re a part of that — knowing you’re a part of the Miami Dolphins organization.”

Duper caught 59 touchdowns (including 32 in a four year period from 1983-86) and had four 1,000 yard receiving seasons.

“I get pumped. I do,” Offerdahl said. “Obviously, I’m like 30 pounds heavier and a lot of gray hair, but I get pumped up when anything to do with the Dolphins, and I’m associated with it. And to be honored by the Miami Dolphins and the community and just to realize as I age and my kids get older, that I had such great times back in the ’80s playing the great game of football, meeting people that changed the life of not only me, but South Florida and literally the nation.”

Offerdahl went to five straight Pro Bowls from 1986-90.

Taylor, perhaps the most dominant Miami pass rusher ever (131 sacks as a Dolphin), received Pro Football’s ultimate honor by going into the Hall of Fame last summer. He was not in attendance for Tuesday’s announcement. Neither was Mark Clayton. Anderson was there beaming from ear to ear.

As for Giesler, who was the primary blind-side blocking left tackle for the early years of Dan Marino’s career, he has had multiple knee and back surgeries and was unable to travel to South Florida in person for the announcement. He did however, appear via video conferencing Tuesday and expressed gratitude for being remembered.

Because of stadium renovations over the last three years, these are the first additions to the “Walk of Fame” since 2014.

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