Lawrence Timmons played ten seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, his Miami Dolphins career could be in jeopardy after zero minutes of the regular season. Some Steeler fans are already jumping the gun, speculating on a return to western PA for "the Law Dog".
While it’s more of a long shot than Jordan Berry winning the NFL’s MVP award in February, I'm game for "ifs and buts." So let's jump the gun and do this.
But first we need the particulars.
First, what’s really going on with LT? Only the Steelers’ 2007 first-rounder really knows for sure. What we do know is that the Dolphins did a bed check on Saturday night at their Los Angeles hotel and Timmons wasn't nestled in for a good night's sleep. After failing to make contact with the linebacker and calling family and friends, the Miami organization filed a missing persons report with several LA police departments. That apparently worked, because badges with the LAPD found Timmons at LAX with a plane ticket to Pennsylvania. Timmons has a child there, and TMZ Sports reported that a Dolphins’ team rep got on the flight and accompanied Timmons. TMZ Sports failed to report the nature of the in-flight meal, or if one was even offered. Meanwhile, the Dolphins, already desperately thin at linebacker, played without Timmons, who had his 101 consecutive-game streak snapped in the Fins’ squeaker over the Chargers.
So, what do the Dolphins do now? Coach Adam Gase seems really pissed off. Believe me, the look I got from my wife when I got goofed out on “Not Your Father's Root Beer” thus missing my daughter’s Pre-K graduation pales in comparison to the expression on Gase's mug when discussing it with reporters.
According to the Miami Herald, Gase originally commented that he’s "Really just gathering a lot of information. I've got a few other things I've got to deal with the guys that played yesterday." Gase also said he didn't know if Timmons was at the Dolphins’ facility and was non-committal regarding the future of LT with the Dolphins. It’s been reported that he wants to play against the Jets on Sunday, but late Tuesday it was reported that Timmons would be suspended indefinitely and the team also acquired former first-rounder Stephone Anthony from the New Orleans Saints.
So where is this all headed? Sources say Timmons is feeling better and wants to play with the Dolphins, but is that really the case now that he is suspended? LT might be homesick for the Steelers, and he could be regretting leaving for Miami in March and $12M over two years. Timmons did spend some time with his former team while evacuating Miami due to Hurricane Irma. He also reportedly spent time in the locker room with the team before their opener last week. As mentioned previously, it was reported that he misses his child. Maybe he also misses harsh winters, yinzers and Primanti sandwiches?
Some people wonder if he’s pulling a LeGarrette Blount, forcing his team to cut him with designs on returning to his former team and a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl. Before the suspension, Gase mentioned he doesn't know what the future holds for Timmons in Miami. He did say that his team is moving on with or without him. To me, it sounds like they are trying to move on without him
It would be hard simply to cut Timmons. He's a salary cap hit of $11M and the Dolphins are still anorexically thin with healthy linebackers even with the addition of Anthony. Trading him is tough, because nobody is going to want to or be able to afford that cap it at this time. Plus, his Dolphins teammates have been very supportive of him during this ordeal. They rightfully suspended Timmons and even though Dolphin players are speaking highly of him, he’s probably going to lose his job. I've ticked off my bosses before and when they want you gone, you're going to end up gone. Gase also doesn't want to lose control of his team, so he’s probably going to send a message and punish Timmons further because of his insubordination.
Also, we still don’t know the full reason behind LT leaving LA. Rumors had Timmons angry with the Dolphins possibly. His agent labeled it a "personal issue".
Steelers Nation would love to see Timmons get released. He’d still probably get paid quite a bit, and the financial loss in Miami would be Pittsburgh's gain. Other teams may not want to touch him because of this controversy, but No. 94 was a model citizen, and a very good player for Mike Tomlin's team, and he’d probably clear waivers.
But nobody knows if the Steelers actually have interest in Timmons given the production they’re getting out of Vince Williams—or even if they have roster room for that matter. But then again, they love cutting Steven Johnson, so there might be room after all.
It doesn't seem like this would be an orchestrated scenario like I attributed the Blount situation of 2014 to being. But it could be. It also could be hypocritical to want a player to do the same thing Blount did to the Steelers to another franchise. But I can live with some hypocrisy on my record.
Will this happen? Originally I found it very unlikely of a scenario. I figured that Timmons would likely only get a 1-game ban from his new team and eventually all would be forgiven. Or I thought the Dolphins would wait and cut him in the off-season and the Steelers could sign him back at the vet-minimum, but now with the suspension now in play, this could actually come to fruition.
As off-base and improbable as all this might still be, it’s sure fun to speculate. I would love to see No. 94 back at the veteran minimum, and he might accept it to get back to the Steel City.
Doubtful to occur, but nobody expected Joe Haden to ever be in black and gold either. But we need to remember that the Steelers have done nothing but prove they are all-in for 2017, so anything can happen.