MIAMI GARDENS—There’s been some question lately as to the status of Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald’s court-ordered community service, but he said today he’s in the process of completing his hours and has “no doubt” about his availability for spring practices and the upcoming season.
McDonald came under scrutiny last month when TMZ reported that he was well short of the 200 service hours and 18 Narcotics Anonymous sessions. He received an extension, however, and said he’s on track to meet the new deadline of March 14.
“I’m in the process of doing all my community service and making sure I knock everything out,” he said. “I think it got a little bit out of hand with what people were thinking… I’m knocking that out and I’ll be ready to go to OTAs.”
McDonald is on probation for a 2016 arrest for driving under the influence, a charge to which he pleaded no contest. The NFL suspended him for the first eight games of last season.
The Dolphins were impressed enough by his work at safety and by his overall behavior to commit long-term on a four-year, $24 million deal before he made his debut.
For McDonald’s part, he seems to be enjoying the community service. He appeared at today’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge event at Hard Rock Stadium and has been working with the Boys & Girls Club and Orangewood Foundation in California.
“It’s not a chore for me,” he said. “I love to be in the community and do things like that, so I hate that it has to come off that way. Anything I can do with the Dolphins, anything I can do with the Boys & Girls Club, whatever it may be, I’m able to do some things.”
He said he is allowed to serve his hours in South Florida as well as California, where the arrest took place.
In eight starts for the Dolphins last season, McDonald had 45 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups.
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