November 14, 2010
When Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington(notes) stood under center for the team's first offensive snap on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, it triggered a potential multi-million dollar bonus in his contract that awarded the veteran for appearing as the team's starting quarterback.
On the very next snap, Pennington's second of the season, the 34-year-old quarterback suffered a dislocated shoulder that will likely sideline him for the season.
Though the contract details are a little murky, Pro Football Talk reports that for playing those two snaps, Pennington earned a $400,000 bonus. That's $200,000 per play.
Pennington had a clause written into his one-year deal that would have paid him $3.25 million if he started all 16 games for the Dolphins. His first start triggered a reported $400,000 bonus.
Pennington was replaced by the man he replaced, Chad Henne(notes). In a terrible stroke of luck for the Dolphins, Henne was injured later in the game, forcing the team to bring in emergency quarterback Tyler Thigpen(notes). The team also relied on its famed Wildcat formation after the injuries. Somehow, the Dolphins held on for a 29-17 victory over the Titans (who also lost their starting quarterback during the game).
Though it's strange to feel sympathy for a man who earned more money in 60 seconds than some people will in the next decade, you'd have to be made of stone not to have a little compassion for Pennington's situation. This is his fourth major shoulder injury and one that could possibly end his career.
Not that he'd be without options. Pennington has said that after he retires he'd like to coach. But a career in the NFL or college isn't in the works; the family man has said he would rather coach in high school because it would allow him to teach the game to youths while spending time with his wife and three sons.
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