The horrible end to Dolphins reserve defensive tackle Kendrick Norton’s career due to an auto accident two weeks ago that resulted in his left arm being amputated will have temporary happy ending. This as, Miami will arrange for Norton to receive his 2019 salary, even though it was not guaranteed.
ESPN’s Field Yates was the first to report Sunday afternoon that the team, on eve of it’s first training camp under coach Brian Flores, has decided to waive Norton and still allow him to get compensated:
The Dolphins have waived DT Kendrick Norton with a non-football injury designation, which still enables the team to pay him his full salary and support their seventh-round pick.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 21, 2019
By designating Norton on the Non-football injury or “NFI list,” Norton doesn’t count against the salary cap while being waived. He then, can request and the team will obviously agree that he receive the $495,000 he was slated to make had he made the Dolphins opening roster this fall.
Norton was released from a South Florida hospital on Friday after spending two weeks there following his rollover accident in the early morning hours of July 4th.
As we wrote previously, Norton lost control of his Ford F-250 truck after making contact with another vehicle and then eventually hitting a concrete barricade and flipping over on state road 836. The Florida Highway Patrol investigation cited Norton, as at fault for the accident, but did not find any evidence of him being impaired.
Norton was not wearing a seatbelt and his left arm was pinned under the hood of the truck. Firefighters and paramedics worked to disengage Norton from the vehicle and stop the massive blood loss after the amputation of his left arm. Norton had several surgeries over the two week stay, including on the arm, which was amputated just below the left shoulder.
A Go Fund Me webpage has been set up to help raise money for Norton and the NFL and the Dolphins had already announced that they would be picking up the medical costs for Norton’s stay in the hospital. Those costs could easily run into the six figures after the accident.
Norton is a former third team All ACC defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes, who was drafted a year ago in the 7th round by the Carolina Panthers. The Fins signed him off the Panthers practice squad in December and he had been taking part in the offseason program.
Norton realizes how fortunate that he is to be alive as he spoke in his only interview to date to WFOR-TV, CBS 4 in the hospital and said the following 10 days ago,
“I am alive. To be here, I am alive. One thing keeps me going and that is that I am still able to be here. Seeing my family is so important. It is very good that I have this support system. It keeps me strong and it keeps me tall. If you have something in the glass,” he said, “you are ok. A lot of people have glasses with not much in them or glasses that are empty. So if your glass is half full, you are ok.”
Obviously, owner Stephen Ross and GM Chris Grier wanted to send the right message to the organization, with current and potential future players, that the Fins will stand by their guys.
“Mountaineer Shot” earns Dolphins K Sanders AFC honors
One of the great trick plays, not just of this NFL season but in recent pro football memory, has earned the Dolphins kicker who caught a touchdown pass Sunday AFC weekly honors.
The league announced Wednesday that kicker Jason Sanders, who became the first place-kicker to catch a touchdown pass in 42 years, is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week:
Special Teams Players of the Week (Week 13):
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2019
Sanders also made his only field-goal attempt, as well as two extra points, earned the weekly honor for Miami’s 37 – 31 upset of the Eagles.
However, it is the play that is known as “Mountaineer Shot” that Sanders will forever be remembered for not just in Dolphin history, but NFL.
We wrote about the play on Monday, as head coach Brian Flores and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman implemented the direct snap to punter Matt Haack, while players were spread wide on either side of the formation.
Haack then, took the snap, rolled left and when the Eagles rushed at him, he flipped the ball to Sanders for the touchdown. The play is named for the center, Kilgore, because he played at Appalachian State, whose nickname is the Mountaineers. And, it’s something that Dolphins had been practicing regularly on and off for the past two months.
Furher, as for the historical aspects of the play, Sanders became the first kicker to catch a touchdown pass in an NFL game since Baltimore’s Jim Turner did it in a game in 1977.
It is also the first time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that a punter has completed a touchdown pass to a kicker and the play will live on for years and years to come.
It is the second time that Sanders has won the AFC special teams player of the week award this season. He also got the honor for his two clultch 48 yard field goals in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins 16-12 upset of the Indianapolis Colts in November.
Dolphins fans still buzzing over “Mountaineer Shot” trick play
Move over, “Miami Miracle,” we now have a rival Dolphins trick play that will be talked about forever by fans and observers.
While it wasn’t the crazy lateral clinching play that Miami scored on with no time left to defeat the Patriots last December, “Mountaineer Shot,” as it’s known, is one of the wildest gadget plays to ever score a TD in the NFL. That’s because it involved the punter throwing to the kicker for a touchdown on a fake field goal.
It was the second quarter with the Dolphins trailing the Eagles 13 – 7, when Miami elected to kick a field goal (or so we thought) from Philadelphia’s 1-yard line.
That’s when dolphin punter Matt Haack lined up behind Center Daniel Kilgore with Miami spreading players to the right and the left. Then, what happened next was comical special teams touchdown, maybe in NFL history:
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 1, 2019
Haack’s first ever NFL completion was a forward option pitch to the kicker, Jason Sanders. And for good measure, it was Sanders first reception in his entire football career (dating back to high school) with the play stunning the Eagles and helping Miami pull off a 37 – 31 upset win.
Here was more on the play from David Wilson of the Miami Herald, including how long coach Brian Flores, special teams coach Danny Crossman and the players had been waiting to pull it out of the bag of tricks:
“We felt like that was a good time to run it,” coach Brian Flores said, and it gave us a spark….
“It was one of those plays Miami had been waiting weeks for the chance to run. Tight end Mike Gesicki said the Dolphins started working on it about two months ago and have been waiting weeks for the right opportunity to arise. Sunday finally presented such an opportunity….
“The gutsy call was just the latest in a line of gutsy calls by special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. In an October loss to the Buffalo Bills, Haack ran for a first down on a fake punt attempt. Last month, the Dolphins successfully executed a surprise onside kick in another loss to the Bills….
“The gutsy call was Crossman distilled to his mad-scientist essence.
“Danny Crossman is crazy. Like what is he dreaming up? This is the NFL,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “Like, that’s not—that doesn’t happen.”
Of course there is further irony that the Eagles famously ran their “Philly Special” play, which was an option pass to then-quarterback Nick Foles, for a touchdown in their upset of the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
So, teams have constantly been looking to get the Eagles on trick plays themselves.
This would include the Patriots having run a double pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who threw a touchdown against them in New England’s 17-10 victory couple of weeks ago at Philly.
Back to “Mountaineer Shot” on Sunday. The play is named for the center, Kilgore, because he played at Appalachian State, whose nickname is the Mountaineers.
And as for the historical aspects of the play, Sanders became the first kicker to catch a touchdown pass in an NFL game since Baltimore’s Jim Turner did it in a game in 1977.
And, it is the first time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that our punter has thrown a touchdown pass to the kicker.
Oh, and the Fins have suddenly come to life with three wins in four games after and 0-7 start. And, it’s in part because the team is still playing hard for a coach and coaching staff that’s willing to take wild risks they did with “Mountaineer Shot,” Sunday.