Starks skips Dolphins' OTAs

The SportsXchange

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks, who signed the team's franchise player tender, is sitting out organized team activities because he's upset he hasn't been offered a multiyear contract.

However, he misses being around his teammates so much he organized a trip for 11 Dolphins defensive players, mostly linemen, to attend Game 5 of the Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers playoff series at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat won, 91-77.

"Starks is so bored," defensive end Jared Odrick said. "He's so bored I get a group text from him every five seconds."

Among the players attending the game were Starks, Odrick, defensive tackle Paul Soliai, defensive end Cam Wake, defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Vaughn Martin, defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, defensive end Derrick Shelby, linebacker Philip Wheeler, cornerback R.J. Stanford and safety Reshad Jones.

During a timeout, the players stood on the court as a group, were introduced and got a nice round of applause, which was a welcome greeting for a team with four consecutive losing seasons.

The original idea for attending the game had defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan, the first-round pick from Oregon, as a big part of the plan. However, NFL rules prevent him from attending OTAs until Oregon's academic year is over.

"We were waiting on the rookie to get down here," Odrick said. "I guess he's not going to be here for a while, but we wanted him to pay for our seats. So we all got together as a group and said, 'Hey, let's do this.'"

The players all had floor seats. Odrick didn't say how they acquired the tickets or how much they cost.

"I can't release those details," he said.

This isn't the first time the players have done things en masse. They had a postseason trip to the Dominican Republic, and some groups of players do things together such as paintball and fishing.

Coach Joe Philbin likes hearing his players hang out together.

"Chemistry of a football team is critical," he said. "The locker room is the most important room we have in the building. Players are more important than the coaches, and so when they can do some of that stuff on their own and we don't have to orchestrate it, I think that's great. I'm all for it.

"Of course I wasn't invited to any of it."

Perhaps Philbin should be thankful he wasn't invited to the Heat game. After all, the players didn't plan on taking Jordan to the game. They only planned on him paying for the tickets.

"No, he wouldn't have gone," Odrick said of Jordan. "(We would have used) his money, but he wouldn't have gone."

--Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, a free agent signee from Baltimore, missed Monday's practice because he had a flight to South Florida cancelled. He's expected to attend Tuesday's OTA. Starks and Jordan were the only other players not attending Monday's OTA.

Cornerback Jamar Taylor, a second-round pick from Boise State, attended but didn't practice after having hernia surgery last month. Guard Lance Louis, a free agent signee from Chicago, didn't practice after offseason knee surgery.

Left tackle Dallas Thomas, a third-round pick from Tennessee, practiced on a limited basis. He's recovering from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.
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