Minneapolis — Miami Dolphins linebacker Rey Maualuga did not make his debut on Thursday night, as coach Adam Gase and the veteran had hoped.
“We kind of changed our mind at the last minute on that one,” Gase said. “We felt like it was better for us to leave him back and work outside with his conditioning and keep pushing him. Because he was making some strides last week. And we wanted to make sure that we really used the time that we have.”
Maualuga has been a Dolphins for 13 days and the season opener is in nine days.
The longtime Cincinnati Bengal conceded upon his arrival that he needed to lose approximately 10 pounds.
An indicator that Mike Hull may take more reps than Mauluga in the season-opener against Tampa Bay is that Hull was held out of Thursday’s game as well.
“Now that we have a few more days to really get ready before we start practicing, we just really wanted to get (Maualuga) in the best shape possible,” Gase said. “It’s one of those deals where gradually through the season we get him more and more snaps so we’ll kind of see how it shakes out. In talking to (trainers, strength staff and sports science staff), it was the best decision for us.”
Veteran linebackers Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons also did not play.
Neville Hewitt, who has missed the entire preseason with a shoulder injury, may not be ready for the start of the season.
“It’s hard for me to answer that,” Gase said of Hewitt. “When we get back, we’ll have the discussion about where everyone is at health-wise. Right now you know there are a couple of guys up in the air that we’re trying to figure out when they’re going to be available.”
Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamperon Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.