New Dolphins S T.J. McDonald has “no wiggle room” for off-field issues

T.J. McDonald knows he has “no wiggle room” for future missteps. (Getty Images)

The Dolphins made an interesting signing today by picking up 26-year-old safety T.J. McDonald, who will miss the first eight games of the upcoming season because of an NFL suspension, and they made clear to him that there is zero tolerance for any missteps going forward.

McDonald was contrite on a conference call with reporters this morning, just as he said he was when he met with Miami management this week, and he knows the expectations will be strictly enforced.

“Words are only so much, but this is something that can never happen again, and I’ve learned from it and owned up to it,” he said. “Priorities changed, everything’s changed. This whole experience is something I’m definitely going to grow from. Whatever I can do to help this team is what I’m ready to do.

“I’ve just got to be hungry, stay clean and be open and honest about everything and make sure this doesn’t happen in the future. I don’t have any wiggle room. My back is up against the wall. I’m just happy to be able to move forward with this and be able to just get back to playing ball. It’s all about ball for me right now.”

McDonald was a four-year starter for the Rams, who drafted him in the third round in 2013. Last season, he had 62 tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions and one sack. Pro Football Focus ranked him the No. 58 safety in the league.

He was meeting with the Dolphins when his suspension became official, though he said he was expecting it and conveyed that to team officials. The penalty stems from him pleading no contest to charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs last May in California.

McDonald will be able to work with the team in the offseason and preseason, but cannot practice during his suspension.

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