When a player goes AWOL (absent without leave), it is a scary thing. Too many times professional athletes have “disappeared into the night” and no one really knows where they are, when they left, and most importantly – why they left.
Lawrence Timmons went missing without a trace on the Saturday night before the Miami Dolphins‘ season-opening game against the Los Angeles Chargers. While the Fins were hanging on for 19-17 win over the Bolts – thanks to LA’s Younghoe Koo missing the game-winning kick – Timmons was nowhere to be found.
Miami filed a missing person’s report with Los Angeles police departments and made calls to the 11-year veteran’s family and friends trying to locate him and uncover the reason for his sudden disappearance.
Timmons eventually made contact with the team just before the game Sunday and said that he was dealing with a “personal matter”, beyond that – details about what exactly led to his leaving the team have been scarce. The team decided that he “was not in a good place” and elected to sit him.
“I’m not saying anything right now,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said after the game Sunday.
“I’m really just gathering a lot of information. I’ve got a few other things I have to deal with…the guys who played yesterday,” Gase added on Monday.
The team announced Tuesday that it had suspended Timmons “indefinitely”.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported that Gase was upset with Timmons for his abandonment of the team and that he wasn’t satisfied with the explanations that Timmons gave for the unexcused absence.
Shuffling The Deck
Timmons’ desertion put Miami, which will travel to face AFC East Rival New York Jets (0-2) this week, in a bit of scramble mode to reshuffle its linebacker corps.
Sunday, the team turned to backup Chase Allen to replace Timmons – who had a streak of 101 consecutive starts snapped because of the incident.
Allen filled in admirably Sunday – finishing with four tackles – but he’s not a long-term solution.
Miami signed former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga this past month, but the eight-year veteran was reportedly overweight and is currently working his way back into football shape.
Timmons’ suspension – which could last up to four games under the auspices of “conduct detrimental” according to the NFL collective bargaining agreement – is the latest blow to the middle of Miami’s defense.
The team lost rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan for the season to a torn ACL during the preseason. McMillan, a second-round pick out of Ohio State, was slated to be the team’s starting middle linebacker.
In an attempt to shore up things, the Dolphins sent a 2018 fifth round pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for linebacker Stephone Anthony.
A former first-round pick in 2015, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Anthony led the Saints in tackles (112) his rookie season as the team’s starting middle linebacker but the club moved him to strongside linebacker the following year and his production took a steep decline.
Even though Anthony is currently dealing with an ankle injury, which hasn’t allowed him to play in a game this season, if he can return to anything close to his 2015 form Miami could get a productive piece to its defense that – at the very least – can add quality depth.