Dolphins LB Lawrence Timmons good to play every snap in debut

Lawrence Timmons played every snap for the Dolphins last weekend. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—The Dolphins got right to it with Lawrence Timmons. As soon as he came off suspension, he was thrust into the starting lineup and played every snap of last week’s game against the Saints.

He’s an 11th-year veteran, but it’s not the easiest thing for a 31-year-old to go from not playing to lining up every snap his first week back.

“You’ve gotta do whatever for your team, and I’ve gotta be out there and be my best self out there for them,” he said today.

Timmons admitted he wasn’t at his best, but felt good overall and expects to continue progressing.

While he missed two games, his actual suspension only kept him away from the team for a week. He was not on the practice field leading up to Miami’s Sept. 24 visit to the Jets. He spent his time away doing everything he could to stay in playing shape.

“Working out extra, running extra and lifting hard—things like that,” Timmons said. “Running and lifting, football things. I was doing sprints and everything. It’s a little bit of everything.”

[Adam Gase’s wake-up call to Jay Cutler: You’re not 25 anymore]

[A complicated cornerback situation with Byron Maxwell, Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard]

[Column: Dolphins coach Adam Gase sounds lost as offense sputters]

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Dolphins LB Rey Maualuga interview: “Gotta be big to be effective”

Rey Maualuga is ready for his Miami Dolphins debut. (Getty Images)

DAVIE—One of the most interesting things to watch with the Dolphins in Sunday’s home game against Tennessee will be the unleashing of Rey Maualuga.

There’s been a ton of buildup for this. Maualuga signed in mid-August and has yet to take the field for any game, preseason or regular season, for a variety of reasons. They held him out originally because he was out of shape. The Bengals released him after last season and he spent all year waiting for someone to call, so he wasn’t in any offseason workouts or Organized Team Activities.

His weight is a compelling topic because he’s much heavier than many linebackers in today’s NFL—Kiko Alonso, for example, is 25 pounds lighter—but that’s the weight that works for him. Part of what’s made Maualuga a good player the past eight years is that he can move well at that size and power through offensive linemen.

He was likely over 270 pounds when the Dolphins signed him. Now he’s listed at 258.

Maualuga got in playing condition heading into what would’ve been the Week 1 game against Tampa Bay, but injured his hamstring in practice. That kept him out against the Chargers, Jets and Saints. This week looks it’ll be his debut, and he said he’s been working with the starters in preparation for the Tennessee game.

As he gets ready to finally hit the field for the Dolphins, here’s a conversation with Maualuga about playing heavy and restarting his career with Miami:

You had to lose weight, but you wouldn’t want to lose too much weight. What exactly is the middle ground for you?
“I’ve played with this and been this size, whether it’s low 260s or high 260s. I’ve been that size my whole playing career, and I think that’s where I’m more effective coming down. I’m mostly known for stopping the run and taking on big guys. In my nature, you’ve gotta be that big to be effective in the middle.

“They’ve been very cool about it. They haven’t really been on my ass about, ‘Well, this is the weight we want you to be’ every week. As long as you can move, as long as you’re looking good on film, as long as you’re running around and it’s not stopping you from doing the things they’re asking of you, there’s really no point in trying to be a number that people think is good enough to be a middle linebacker.”

What was the big drop? What’s the highest and lowest you’ve been since you got here?
“I stand on there and tell them not to tell me the weight. I don’t want to know. I care how I look. But you feel good, you look good in the mirror and you run good and you feel alright, then they give you a number and you’re like, ‘What the (expletive)? Where is it?’ It (messes) up your whole day. You’re doing all this conditioning and extra (stuff) and cutting back what you eat, and then that number just (messes) you up.”

What’s a food you’ve given up?
“I blame my daughter because she always wants a Happy Meal. That’s all her.”

So you’d be going and getting a nice healthy salad or something, but your five-year-old daughter drags you to McDonald’s against your will?
“Pretty much. I’m always trying to eat something healthy. I had a chef for a little bit in Cincinnati, and she says, ‘No, I don’t want to eat that, Daddy.’ So, you know, McDonald’s is right down the street and I just want to be nice to my daughter. Then when I get there I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna get something,’ but then you look at the menu and you’re like, ‘(Shoot), alright, that fish filet don’t look too bad.’ I don’t know.”

What else did you cut out?
“You know us Polynesians, we love rice. That’s what I had to cut out as well, all that starch. All these processed foods that lazy people get at the grocery store and then throw in microwave. Those things you think are gonna be healthy like Lean Pockets and all that (stuff), it ain’t. All that (stuff) is convenient.”

Have you started eating any new foods?
“Nah. I used to blame my daughter, but now I try to blame genetics. You never see a skinny Samoan or Polynesian guy. Well, other than Troy. Troy Polamalu. He’s the exception. It’s like big bones. I don’t know.”

It says you’re 258 now. Do you feel like yourself at that weight?
“I feel great. They’re not pressuring me to do anything out of the ordinary. I’m worrying about drying myself out, and that can lead to strains and pulls. They just tell me to be me. Be you, do what you’re asked and don’t go crazy on eating. It might be hard to sit here and listen to me say that I don’t, but I don’t.

“You and I could eat something and—You could lose 10 pounds just eating that (stuff) and I’ll (expletive) gain three pounds. It’s weird. My digestive system, I can’t explain it.”

I’m not sure about the science behind what you’re saying.
“You’ve never heard someone say they could eat something but still lose weight?”

How exactly would that work?
“No? I get that (stuff) all the time. We weigh in every Thursday and I’m like, ‘Oh (shoot), I’ve gotta eat light tonight’ the night before, but Mike Hull on the other hand, he’ll be like, ‘Oh (expletive), I can eat whatever the (expletive) I want’ because he’ll wake up the next morning and be down five pounds. I’m not saying you could eat a (expletive) footlong and lose weight; I’m just saying some people break it down quicker.”

Have you ever have to cut weight before?
“I’ve had to.”

Was it difficult changing teams and moving to Miami this late in your career?
“It’s not hard. (Defensive coordinator Matt) Burke was in Cincinnati. The only thing I had to adjust to was heat.”

It’s serious.
“I’ve been blessed a couple days practicing outside it’s been either raining or overcast or a nice little breezed, as opposed to what guys are saying about, ‘You haven’t experienced the 100-plus-degree heat during camp.’ Thank God I wasn’t here for that. I’d have had to reevaluate my decision.”

It never really cools down here, though.
“Right. But in Cincinnati, it was all four seasons. But now it’s more like 90-degree weather.”

What was it like the first time you tried to practice in it? How’d it go?
“Well the first time I (expletive) came out in that was at the airport. I was standing there sweating.”

But what about your first actual workout, given the conditions and your conditioning not being right?
“It wasn’t too bad. I’ve carried this weight for my career, so I guess some people can carry it better than others. When coaches see a number, they can say, ‘Well, Rey’s this (weight), but I don’t think the other linebackers could be that and perform the way Rey can perform.’”

You’re a little bit of an anomaly in that sense.
“Right. If I dropped down too much in weight, I might not be as effective.”

The weight is part of what’s made you good, probably.
“Right, yeah. So trying to tell me to—But I get what they’re saying. The evolution is that linebackers have changed due to it being a throwing league. Now all the linebackers are much smaller, in the 230s or 220s. The (Luke) Kuechlys and Kiko and (expletive) Timmons is about 240.”

Alonso is about the same size as Reshad Jones.
“Yeah. Would he be able to carry 260? Probably not. Everyone is different. I’ve felt comfortable with how I’ve weighed.”

So your conditioning is good now? You can get through a whole practice with no issues?
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everything’s fine. But the older you get, the more you’ve gotta take care of your body. I’ve gotta get in the cold tub, the hot tub, massages, (stuff) I’ve never done before. It was usually (expletive) when we’re done with practice, just go home.”

And maybe stop by McDonald’s.
“No, that was the off days. Occasionally (his daughter) would beg me to get out of the house to go do that. I’m not saying every time she wanted to go get a Happy Meal I’d get something, but if I hadn’t eaten at the time, I would get a little.”

What’s you going crazy at McDonald’s?
“I don’t go crazy at McDonald’s. It might sound gross, but a fish filet would be my choice.”

On the scale of McDonald’s food, that’s somewhat reasonable.

The fish.
“Well, I mean, it’s probably not real fish. It’s probably fake.”

Still better for you than a Big Mac, I think.
“Oh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But when I order, I don’t think about the calorie count and all that. I just get it.”

[Adam Gase’s wake-up call to Jay Cutler: You’re not 25 anymore]

[A complicated cornerback situation with Byron Maxwell, Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard]

[Column: Dolphins coach Adam Gase sounds lost as offense sputters]

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Miami Dolphins LB Rey Maualuga working with first-team defense

Rey Maualuga is ready to join Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons in the starting lineup. (Getty Images)

DAVIE—Not only will linebacker Rey Maualuga make his Dolphins debut Sunday against the Titans, he’ll likely start.

Maualuga said today he’s been working with the starters all week, meaning Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons, and believes he’s full-go for the Tennessee game. That would send Mike Hull to the bench.

“My feeling, the way I’ve been practicing all week with the first group, I would hope that I’m ready to go and they’ve got all the trust in me to go in there and line up and get the job done,” he said.

He would be a helpful boost for a linebacker corps that’s been thin this year. Timmons was absent the first two games, second-round pick Raekwon McMillan is out for the season and Maualuga has yet to appear.

It also comes at convenient time for Miami. The Titans are sixth in the league at 138.8 rushing yards per game, running the ball an average of 27.8 times each week.

The duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry is getting 4.9 yards per carry. Henry, at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, is exactly the kind of running back Maualuga (6-2, 258) has been tasked with stopping his entire career.

“I think it’ll be a good first game to come back to,” he said. When asked if the team has him on a snap limit this weekend, he said, “As long as they keep running the ball, I think the more you’ll see me on the field. We’ll see what happens.”

It’s been a long wait for Maualuga since the Dolphins signed him in August. He did not appear in the preseason because of conditioning issues. He was in shape to practice Week 1, but injured his hamstring and has been out since.

He is no longer listed on the injury report and has practiced fully all this week.

“He looks alright to me,” coach Adam Gase said. “We’ll see what we do Sunday.”

[Adam Gase’s wake-up call to Jay Cutler: You’re not 25 anymore]

[A complicated cornerback situation with Byron Maxwell, Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard]

[Column: Dolphins coach Adam Gase sounds lost as offense sputters]

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Miami Dolphins’ once-frightful run defense now plays with ‘no fear,’ Ndamukong Suh says

Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints tackled by Kiko Alonso of the Dolphins as Lawrence Timmons (94) and Andre Branch (50) look on. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Tennessee Titans have two of the top 25 rushers in the NFL, not to mention the possibility of a quarterback who can take off running at any time.

“Put no fear in my heart,” Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said Wednesday.

Suh can say that. Now. Whether he would have or could have said that last year is debatable. Teams were too busy running over and through the Dolphins for anyone to do any talking.

Even though three games is a tiny sample size, the contrast is startling.

This year: No. 5 against the run, 77.7 yards allowed per game.

Last year: No. 30 against the run, 140.4 yards allowed.

“We know last year, that wasn’t us, no matter if people made excuses about it being our first year together,” defensive end Andre Branch said. “At the end of the day, run defense is man against man and for us to stop the run, it just shows that everyone has pretty much owned up to their mistakes and everybody’s just doing their job.”

In a struggle of man against man, it’s not hard to imagine the feeling when, say, Buffalo is rushing for 272 yards against you, which happened in December. Or when every team in the second half of the season is rushing for at least 100 yards. Or when you’re giving up a team-record 2,247 rushing yards for the season.

“It’s tough when you check the stats, when you see a team has X amount of rushing yards,” Branch said. “It is frustrating because you practice your tail off and then you don’t get the results that you want.”

One sign that stopping the run has been a point of emphasis came from tackle Davon Godchaux as he discussed the Titans.

“We’ve got a big challenge,” Godchaux said. “Last year they rushed all over the Dolphins.”

Godchaux knew that even though a year ago, he was playing for LSU. But he was right. Last season, the Titans rushed for 235 yards in a 30-17 victory that dropped Miami to 1-4. The Dolphins managed to turn things around and make the playoffs even though teams continued to run all over them.

But it was clear something had to change.

“Guys just getting to the ball,” safety Reshad Jones said. “We’re fitting up. Guys are getting in their gaps and being where they need to be.”

Adding Godchaux has made a difference. So has the arrival of end William Hayes. And, now, linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

“Fury, fire and big hits,” Suh said of Timmons. “He’s a guy that obviously comes downhill. I love him and enjoy him playing behind me. I look forward to him continuing to progress in our defense and play off us as defensive linemen up front.”

One could argue that the run defense’s numbers are better because the pass defense ranks 27th, meaning teams haven’t had to run so much. But even when teams have tried to run, they haven’t gotten far, averaging 3.07 yards per carry compared to 4.8 last season. And that’s taking into account that one of their opponents was the Jets, who are seventh in the NFL in rushing.

Still, the Dolphins are 1-2. Getting support from the offense Sunday would be nice, because shutting out the Titans doesn’t seem realistic. Tennessee brings DeMarco Murray, the 17th-leading rusher with 215 yards (and a 5.1 average), and Derrick Henry, 25th with 178 yards (4.6).

“Both of them hit the holes hard,” Hayes said. “Murray might be a little bit more agile but they both get that ball and try to get yards after contact. They look for contact. It’s not like they shy away from it.”

Besides Murray and Henry, quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was limited in practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury, has rushed for 116 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think they’re a physical team but at the end of the day, put no fear in my heart,” Suh said. “I know as well as any other guy on my team and looking at those guys and their eyes, nobody is scared of them being physical or whatever. We embrace the challenge. We look forward to it. Like I said, I think you can see it in my face.”

[Mike Pouncey says team is full of fury after two losses]

[Adam Gase: Jay Cutler isn’t 25 anymore]

[Dolphins’ offensive line isn’t giving Jay Ajayi much room to breathe]

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[CB Torry McTyer’s girlfriend works at Mandalay Bay, barricaded herself]


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Miami Dolphins inactives: Who’s in/out vs. New Orleans Saints?

The Dolphins were on the fence about whether to play LB Rey Maualuga this week. (Getty Images)

LONDON–The Dolphins go into a crucial game against the Saints this morning needing a win as they dive into a challenging October slate.

Inactives are sometimes a formality, but not in this case. Miami is making a big change at linebacker by dressing rookie Cordrea Tankersley and starting him over seven-year veteran Byron Maxwell. Alterraun Verner, who was fighting a hamstring issue, jumped Maxwell on the depth chart. Maxwell is inactive.

Here are Miami’s inactives for today’s game:

OL Isaac Asiata
OT Eric Smith
OT Sam Young
DT Jordan Phillips
LB Rey Maualuga
CB Byron Maxwell
CB Torry McTyer

Here are some lineup notes in addition to the aforementioned Tankersley-for-Maxwell swap:

–Veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons will make his Dolphins debut and start today after disappearing from the team before the opener against the Chargers. He was suspended for last week’s game against the Jets.

–Rookie Davon Godchaux starts in Phillips’ spot for the second straight year.

–The Dolphins are keeping their entire starting 11 on offense intact despite coach Adam Gase threatening changes at the start of the week.

–Wide receiver Kenny Stills will play through an unspecified hand injury. He’s listed as a starter. Stills has not been catching passes this week.

[Miami Dolphins WR Kenny Stills hasn’t been catching passes in practice]

[Dolphins backup safety Maurice Smith says he’d be fine if he got cut over anthem protest]

[Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry explains why he’ll never kneel for the national anthem]

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Miami Dolphins LB Mike Hull’s plan regarding Lawrence Timmons: ‘Be there for him’

Dolphins linebacker Mike Hull (45) intercepts a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) at Hard Rock Stadium in 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — One of the Dolphins most affected by the return of Lawrence Timmons is happy to have him back in the fold.

Mike Hull, who started the first two games along with Kiko Alonso at linebacker, greeted Timmons upon his return off indefinite suspension Wednesday. The saga began when Timmons disappeared before the opener against the Chargers.

“I think all of us have talked to him and tried to rally around him and be there for him,” Hull said. “We just let him know that no matter what he needs, just let us know and we’ll help him out.”

Hull said Timmons looked like Timmons in practice.

“He’s back to his normal self, from what I can see,” Hull said. “He seems like he’s ready to get back with the team and play.”

How the linebackers will line up Sunday remains to be seen. Hull said the linebackers are moving around, playing “a little bit more of everything,” as coaches tinker.

Free agent Chase Allen was an emergency starter against the Chargers, but the Dolphins started only Hull and Alonso against the Jets, preferring to go with five defensive backs.

Timmons made 952 total tackles in his 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Dolphins for this season as a free agent.

“He’s an explosive player,” Hull said. “He can make big plays. Great pass rusher. I mean, he can do it all. You saw what he did in Pittsburgh the last 10 years, so I think he can still be that player. Hopefully we get it this week. It’d be great.”

Dolphins reinstate linebacker Lawrence Timmons off suspension

The tape don’t lie: Miami Dolphins at NY Jets, a review

Numbers don’t lie, either: Dolphins have broken up just one pass this season

Miami Dolphins: 5 Snap Conclusions from their loss to the N.Y. Jets

COLUMN: How could the tanking New York Jets stun the surging Miami Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross stands with players before anthem

LB Lawrence Timmons returns to Miami Dolphins: ‘Sorry … to everyone’

Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — An apologetic but tight-lipped Lawrence Timmons returned to the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.

“I just want to say sorry to all the fans, the Miami Dolphins, to everyone,” Timmons, a veteran linebacker, said in his first public comments since going AWOL before the season-opener Sept. 17. “Just happy to be back here. Sorry to the organization. I’m just happy to be a Miami Dolphin again. I just want to play football and be the best I can.”

Timmons fielded several more questions over the next three minutes but repeated a version of “I’m just happy to be back here” to each. The questions ranged from what he told teammates to whether he attended a recent practice of his former team, the Steelers, to what he believes he might be able to contribute Sunday when the Dolphins play the New Orleans Saints at Wembley Stadium.

Coach Adam Gase likewise shed little light on the saga Wednesday, saying he preferred to keep everything private.

“That’s something I’m just keeping in-house right now,” Gase said. “We just worked through a couple of things. L.T. handled the business he needed to handle and I’m glad he’s back.”

Gase said it’s a “possibility” Timmons could make his Dolphins debut Sunday.

Timmons disappeared the night before the Dolphins opened the season against the Los Angeles Chargers in California. The organization became so concerned it filed a missing persons report with police, who quickly found Timmons at the Los Angeles airport waiting for a flight to Pennsylvania.

The team indefinitely suspended Timmons, who obviously did enough in the interim to convince Gase there won’t be any further problems.

After practicing with Timmons on Wednesday afternoon, Dolphins players said they welcomed him back.

“He looked fresh, actually,” cornerback Byron Maxwell said.

Asked whether the team feels “complete” with a starting linebacker having returned, quarterback Jay Cutler said, “Yeah, I guess so. He’s well-liked in the locker room, so guys are happy to see him back there.”

Timmons apparently had not addressed the team as a whole as of mid-afternoon.

“He just showed up,” Maxwell said. “You know, Lawrence Timmons is back. We’re good. There you go. I didn’t ask any questions. It’s not my job to ask questions. Just show up on game day and I’m ready to go.”

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said the day was like any other.

“It just went back to normal business,” Suh said. “I don’t think there’s necessarily an apology needed, at this particular point in time, in my personal opinion. Like I said, we just expect for him to continue to play hard and practice hard like he does. He was out there flying around like he normally is, making plays and being a big part of this defense.”

Moving forward, Cutler said, “He’s just got to come back in and do his job. It’s not hard. I think Adam said it a couple of weeks ago — there’s not a lot of rules here. Play hard. Be on time. He knows that and he’s going to come in and do everything we ask him to do.”

Gase wouldn’t say if or how Timmons assured him he won’t disappear again. If it should happen again, Cutler said, “It’s going to be dealt with. I don’t think it’s anything that we’re going to worry about or concern ourselves with. He’s back, we’re happy to have him back and I think we’re just expecting him to fall in line like everybody else.”

Dolphins reinstate linebacker Lawrence Timmons off suspension

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Numbers don’t lie, either: Dolphins have broken up just one pass this season

Miami Dolphins: 5 Snap Conclusions from their loss to the N.Y. Jets

COLUMN: How could the tanking New York Jets stun the surging Miami Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross stands with players before anthem

Dolphins’ Lawrence Timmons gets second chance Marlins weren’t willing to offer Pokey Reese

Miami Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida on June 8, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

After going missing prior to the Miami Dolphins’ opening game a week and a half ago, linebacker Lawrence Timmons is on track to return to the football field this Sunday against the Saints.

The move to bring back Timmons provides the long-time Steeler with an opportunity that was not provided by another South Florida sports organization when they were faced with a similar situation.

>> Adam Gase all good with Lawrence Timmons, who is likely to debut this week

In 2006, the then-Florida Marlins entered spring training thinking they would have the services of then-32-year-old infielder Pokey Reese.

Reese, much like Timmons, disappeared from the spring training complex following a workout, offering no explanation as to why he left the team.

Three days later….

“I think that the 72 hours that have passed is more than a reasonable amount of time for him to offer some explanation for his unexcused absence,” Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest told the Associated Press at the time. “We still do not have that explanation, and we’re moving on.”

Like Timmons, who was expected to play a big role in the Dolphins’ thin linebacker corps, Reese was going to be counted on to play regularly for the Marlins.

>> Lawrence Timmons reinstated by Miami Dolphins

“It’s disappointing,” then-manager Joe Girardi told the AP. “He fit that role that we needed really well, with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge of playing the position.”

Though several parallels can be made between the puzzling disappearances of both players, Timmons will be given the second chance that Reese wasn’t afforded, and the Dolphins hope he makes the most of it.

Adam Gase all good with Lawrence Timmons, who is likely to debut this week

Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons was reinstated Tuesday. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE–The Dolphins will not take a progressive approach to reinstating linebacker Lawrence Timmons. He’s fully back.

Miami coach Adam Gase said today he completely resolved the issue with Timmons, who deserted the team shortly before its season opener against the Chargers, and expects to have him practice this week. Gase gave few details beyond making clear that Timmons will resume his status as one of the team’s core veterans.

“We just worked through a couple things,” Gase said. “L.T. handled the business he needed to handle. I’m glad he’s back.”

He hinted that Timmons will play Sunday against the Saints in London, which adds much-needed depth at linebacker. The team dressed four for the opener and five last week against the Jets–one of whom was recently acquired Stephone Anthony.

The Dolphins also might get Rey Maualuga in uniform for his debut. Maualuga has not appeared in anything but a few practices since signing with the team more than a month ago.

As for Timmons, Gase declined to say whether he would address the team. Many players said last week they would welcome him back.

The move came after conversations that left Gase feeling “good about where we were at with him,” and he added that Timmons had reestablished trust in their relationship.

Timmons is an 11th-year veteran who was originally projected to start alongside Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan. With McMillan tearing his ACL in the preseason opener, Mike Hull has stepped into the role of middle linebacker.

[Opinion: Protesting Miami Dolphins use their platform better than Donald Trump used his]

[Cameron Wake baffled by Dolphins’ big loss to New York]

[Grading the Dolphins in a 20-6 loss to the Jets]

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Report: Dolphins LB Lawrence Timmons wanted to return to Steelers

Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons is suspended indefinitely. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

NEW YORK–The story of Lawrence Timmons’ sudden departure from the Miami Dolphins is more bizarre than it initially appeared.

As if it wasn’t strange enough that he deserted the team the day before its season opener in California, CBS reports that he was in Pittsburgh the previous week and expressed regret for leaving the Steelers in free agency.

The story says Timmons went to Pittsburgh when the team scattered ahead of Hurricane Irma and showed up somewhat unexpectedly at Steelers practice as they were preparing to face Cleveland. Some former teammates and coach Mike Tomlin were aware that he was coming to the facility, but many in the organization were surprised to see him.

Timmons was reportedly allowed to watch Pittsburgh’s Friday practice from the sideline that week, a highly unusual occurrence given that he plays for another team.

The Dolphins released their players Sept. 6 to get them and their families out of harm’s way, and about half of them did so. The other half and their families were flown to California by owner Stephen Ross.

Miami coach Adam Gase instructed players to report to Oxnard, Calif., by Tuesday for a team meeting, and all 53 players made it. Timmons practiced with the Dolphins for three days before disappearing Saturday. Because of his sudden absence, the Dolphins ended up dressing just four linebackers against the Chargers.

The organization placed Timmons on indefinite suspension, which can last a maximum of four weeks before it has to reinstate or release him. Today’s game against the Jets marks Week 1 of that penalty.

Timmons, who played 10 years with Pittsburgh before signing with Miami last offseason, is on a two-year, $12 million contract with $11 million of that guaranteed. He is being docked pay for missed time during the suspension.

[Polling the locker room: Dolphins players want Lawrence Timmons back]

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