NFL national anthem protest: Doug Baldwin praises Dolphins’ reversal

Baldwin admires what Thomas has been doing in South Florida. (Andres Leiva/The Post)

ORLANDO—The national anthem protests have been a polarizing issue in the NFL over the last two seasons, and the Dolphins have been right in the middle of it.

Miami has been among the most vocal teams, led primarily by safety Michael Thomas and wide receiver Kenny Stills, when it comes to taking a stance against social and racial injustice. Stills, Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas all kneeled during the national anthem this season, and a few other players joined them in the Week 3 game against the Jets after inflammatory remarks by Donald Trump.

Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who has also been active in the players’ movement, praised Thomas for making an impact.

“It’s fantastic when you have a guy who takes the time to be empathetic about other people’s plights and put himself in other people’s shoes and try to listen and learn as much as he can and try to effect change,” said Baldwin, who played with Thomas at Stanford.

The Dolphins’ story took a surprising turn, however, when the order came down for players to remain in the locker room if they intended to protest. Owner Stephen Ross said publicly it was time for them to stand in unity, and coach Adam Gase instituted it as a new team policy.

Shortly after that, though, the players met with Gase to express their displeasure with the rule. He reconsidered and allowed them to resume kneeling.

“It’s a step of empathy,” Baldwin said. “You have a lot of guys who are owners or coaches who are willing to hear the conversation and willing to listen, but the next step is toward them being empathetic. When they do that, it’s very easy for them to relate to guys and connect with guys in a passionate way like you’ve seen. It’s a hard step to take because it’s an unknown step at times.”

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Doug Baldwin: Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry’s free agency comes down to one thing

Doug Baldwin got paid and now he’s happy to see the same happening for Jarvis Landry. (Getty Images)

LAKE BUENA VISTA—Free agency is always about money, but there are many other aspects to the process. When Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin sees his peer Jarvis Landry about to hit the market, he sees more than the massive payday.

Baldwin sees a player who clawed his way to the top through high school and LSU and made people regret passing him in the 2014 Draft when he went 63rd overall to the Dolphins. After catching more passes (400) in his first four year than any player in league history and averaging 1,000 yards per season, Landry’s about to reap a well-deserved reward.

“He’s an incredible talent and obviously done a lot for the Dolphins’ organization, but I don’t look at him as an asset,” Baldwin said after the NFC’s Pro Bowl walkthrough today. “More so, I look at him as a human being who has fought tooth and nail to get to where he’s at now. He has earned everything that’s coming to him.

“He’s worked tremendously hard to get to this point. I couldn’t be more happy for him and I want to see him do well, not only as a football player but as a man.”

Baldwin knows that struggle quite well. He broke into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and quickly established himself as a vital part of Seattle’s offense. He was 9 yards shy of making this season his third straight of 1,000-plus.

The Seahawks headed off Baldwin’s free agency by working out an extension with him a year early in 2016. He signed for four years, $46 million, and that was as much about standing his ground about the quality of player he is as it was getting paid.

His advice to Landry would be to look at it the same way.

“The decision is easy: What do you want as a man?” Baldwin said. “To me, it was really simple. I had a number in mind and I wasn’t gonna go below it. I’m sure he’s in the same situation. I’m sure he has a good agent who’s leading him in that way.”

Landry, playing in his third Pro Bowl on Sunday, will become a free agent for the first time in March after playing out a rookie contract that paid him $3.5 million over his first four seasons. He’s the only Dolphin ever to post a 100-catch season and his four seasons all rank in the franchise’s top seven in receptions.

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2018 NFL international series: Miami Dolphins not playing London game

No overseas trips for the Dolphins in 2018. (Getty Images)

There’s good news for the Dolphins today: They are in the clear when it comes to playing overseas next season.

The NFL announced three pairings for the 2018 London Games, and Miami is not on the slate. The league will stage Seahawks-Raiders, Eagles-Jaguars and Titans-Chargers in the United Kingdom next year.

The Dolphins fulfilled their obligation to play a home game in London as part of the arrangement that will bring Super Bowl LIV to South Florida, but face the possibility of being selected as a road team for an international game next season. With the three London games solidified, the only remaining slots are for the one game in Mexico.

There’s been nothing official on the Mexico game, but multiple media reports say it will be Rams versus Chiefs.

That means the Dolphins will play all 16 games in the United States next season, which will be a welcome change for the team after last year’s travel schedule. Including giving up a home game to play in London, Miami ventured the fourth-most miles in the league at 27,520.

The most brutal stretch came in Weeks 2-4, when the Dolphins went to Los Angeles, New York and London for consecutive games. Anytime the team plays more than one time zone away, it leaves early (typically Thursday) to acclimate.

This year, with no international games and a full home schedule, the itinerary is much more manageable. The farthest west the Dolphins will go is Houston, and their most distant game is at Minnesota. Their entire schedule will be played in the Eastern and Central Time Zone.

Click here to view the Dolphins’ full set of home and road opponents for 2018.

The Dolphins have played more game in London than any team but the Jaguars. They won beat the Raiders there in 2014, but lost to the Giants (2007), Jets (2015) and Saints (2017).

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Sideline confrontations business as usual in NFL’s high-intensity workplace

No sideline episode drew more attention this season than Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels getting into it. (Getty Images)

DAVIE—Few offices have the extreme competition and moment-by-moment high stakes of the NFL, and it shouldn’t be surprising if conversations on the sideline don’t look quite like those that take place in an accounting firm.

With video of each confrontation readily available to go viral—another big difference from most workplaces—and coach-player relationships always under the media microscope, these arguments often become something bigger to the public than what the participants think it is.

No blow-up in the league drew as much attention as Tom Brady unloading on offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Seattle’s Doug Baldwin got heated enough to shove offensive line coach Tom Cable during an argument two months ago, and Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry got into it with Adam Gase late in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City.

Gase has no aversion to confrontation, which is part of what makes him suited for this profession. After 15 years coaching in the NFL, he sees those sideline exchanges as a normal—healthy, even—part of this environment.

“That (stuff) happens all the time and it’s overblown big-time,” he said before practice today. “(Stuff) like that happens, and unless the TV cameras catch it, nobody notices. Competitive guys, there’s a fire there.

“Whether it’s players or coaches, both sides are trying not to cross a line to attack somebody, but yeah, there’s going to be some discussion and argument. Guys get fired up. It’s the real pros that can move past it and get to the next thing.”

Brady and Baldwin publicly apologized for their incidents, but it seemed like more than anything their intention was to calm down a publicity storm. Both gave the impression that those involved were already carrying on with business as usual.

For Gase and Landry, their shouting match in the Chiefs game didn’t even rise to the level that either thought that was necessary. Gase described himself, Landry and former running back Jay Ajayi as “hotheads” earlier this year and said that was only the second time they’ve had that kind of interaction since Gase took the job almost two years ago.

For his part, Landry said after the game it’s “normal for anyone to show frustration” and he wasn’t trying to embarrass his coach.

As for moving forward in their relationship, which has been positive for both sides throughout their time together, Gase said they gave “each other a little hard time” about the disagreement and that was it.

“To me, it’s never a big deal,” said Gase, who recalled many similar interactions when he coached Peyton Manning and remains close friends with him. “It’s no different than when two coaches get in an argument. That’s football. That’s what happens. When you’re playing a sport that’s as aggressive and violent as this and you talk about energy levels being high and you’re competing and it’s a do-or-die situation, man, every little thing is magnified.

“Everybody wants to win. Everybody’s trying so hard to win that when things go wrong, sometimes it just gets a little vocal.”

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Season-opening drop in 2016 stays with Dolphins WR Kenny Stills as motivation

Kenny Stills is in reach of the best season of his career. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills has done a lot of good things since last year’s season opener, but the frustration over the embarrassing drop he had against the Seahawks that afternoon is still in his mind.

Stills won’t let go of that miscue, which would have been a 71-yard score had he not bobbled it away with no one near him, and he uses it to drive him on days when he doesn’t have as much enthusiasm for practice.

“It’s not that it sticks with me, it’s just a reminder of something you don’t want to happen,” he said. “’I mean, I think about a game when I was a sophomore in high school and I dropped a ball in the rain for our team not to go to the state championship.

“Those are just things that you use as reminders to motivate yourself, just like I have the guys that got drafted in front of me (printed out) in my locker. It’s just a reminder for those days when you might not be feeling it. Anyone can play on Sundays, but it’s a grind during the week.”

Here’s a clip of the play in Seattle:

Stills doesn’t re-watch that play and it’s not that it haunts him. He’s just adamant that he doesn’t want a recurrence, and that spurs him to put in maximum effort and take extra reps at practices.

“You’ll never forget moments like that,” he said. “Those are motivating things for you.”

He seems to be plenty motivated this season. Coming off a strong year in 2016—he led the team in total touchdowns and was third in receiving yards—Stills is in range of the best season of his career. He leads the Dolphins in yards receiving (751) and is second in receptions (50) and touchdowns (six).

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Former Dolphin Dion Jordan set to return for Seattle Seahawks

Dion Jordan could play this weekend for Seattle. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—Former Dolphins pass rusher Dion Jordan is getting another chance to prove he’s a viable NFL player.

He flamed out after four mostly empty seasons with Miami and was released this year. Seattle picked him up in the offseason, and coach Pete Carroll said today the team intends to move him from the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list to the active roster this week.

“He’s ready to go,” Carroll said on ESPN 710 in Seattle. “He had a very good week last week. We’re thrilled about that for him, in particular, since it’s been such a long haul to get back. But we’ll see how we can mix him in and find him a spot.”

The Dolphins took Jordan third overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, and he made one start in four years with them. He appeared in 26 games, none after the 2014 season. Jordan spent all of 2015 on NFL suspension because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy.

When coach Adam Gase came aboard last year, he gave Jordan every chance to work his way onto the roster. Jordan, now 27, traveled with the Dolphins for every road game and got constant attention from the training staff, leading up to the team activating him from the injured list in November. He got three weeks of practice, but didn’t look healthy enough to contribute.

“He just wasn’t ready,” Gase said at the time. “His body’s not ready to go. His game is explosion off the ball, being able to redirect, that burst that you want a guy that plays his position have, and it’s not all the way back. That’s just what it is.

“We didn’t have enough time. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing as far as getting him better day-in and day-out. He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s always here. He’s trying to figure out a way to just get his body back to where it was, and sometimes it takes a little longer than you think.”

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Jeremy Lane could be younger, cheaper cornerback option for Dolphins

Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron (84) gets upended by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

The short-lived Joe Haden sweepstakes left the Miami Dolphins empty handed, but if the team is still in the market for a cornerback, another option may be available.

The Seattle Seahawks are gauging the trade market for several players, including 27-year-old cornerback Jeremy Lane, according to the NFL Network.

While trading for Lane may prove too costly for a team with a respectable in-house option at the position in Byron Maxwell, if the Seahawks were to release Lane, he may be worth Miami’s consideration.

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Lane is two years younger than Maxwell, 29, and has impressed his current team in the preseason. Early on in training camp, Seattle coach Pete Carroll praised Lane’s offseason preparation, complementing his conditioning and strength.

“You ask anyone in the program and they will tell you Jeremy Lane is on fire right now,” Carroll told The Seattle Times at the time.

While Lane doesn’t provide the same turnover threat in the secondary that Maxwell does, with only two career interceptions and one forced fumble, he is a younger and probably cheaper option for the Dolphins.

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Lane’s cap hit is $5.25 million in 2017 and jumps to $7.25 million in the next two seasons, while Maxwell’s cap hit sits at $8.5 million in 2017, $10 million in 2018 and 2019 and $10.75 million in 2020.



The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

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 Bokamper on 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.

Seattle Seahawks: Another surgery for ex-Dolphin Dion Jordan

Dion Jordan remains far from playing. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE–Dion Jordan, the biggest draft bust in Miami Dolphins history, won’t be making his comeback anytime soon.

Miami released him this spring after four empty seasons, and he landed with the Seahawks hoping to make their roster. That process isn’t off to a good start. He has yet to take the field for Organized Team Activities or minicamp.

According to Seattle coach Pete Carroll, Jordan underwent additional knee surgery after signing in April. There’s now concern about whether he’ll be available when training camp opens next month.

“We were fixing what happened before,” Carroll told reporters Tuesday. “He didn’t get hurt here. He came to us needing a clean-up on his knee. He didn’t know that at the time. We uncovered it.”

Jordan, 27, was the No. 3 overall pick of the 2013 draft. He’s played 26 career games, the last being in 2014.

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Dolphins to don orange again as ‘Color Rush’ jerseys revealed

Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry models the team’s “Color Rush” uniforms for 2016. (Courtesy of

The NFL has revealed the “Color Rush” jerseys for the 2016 NFL season and the uniforms have drawn mixed reviews.

The Dolphins will be sporting an all-orange uniform during their Thursday night matchup Sept. 29 with the Cincinnati Bengals, who will be dressed in all white. Miami’s uniform features white numbers and lettering and a white stripe down the side of the pants. The lettering, numbers and stripes are outlined in aqua, and the Dolphins will be wearing their regular helmets.

The look will signify the return of the team’s orange jersey tops, a fashion trend the Dolphins experimented with in 2004. The difference between the 2004 unis and the new version is that in 2004 the pants were white.

Until they’re seen on the field, it will be hard to gauge just how memorable the Dolphins’ “Color Rush” jerseys will be.

Despite the bright orange, the Dolphins’ uniforms are far from the flashiest or brightest of the bunch. Several teams like the Seahawks (flourescent green), Vikings (purple), Rams (yellow) and Titans (blue) take the cake in those categories.

Hopefully, this year, colorblind people can enjoy the Color Rush games as well, an issue that the NFL has worked to fix this time around.

Adam Gase can’t fix everything but the Dolphins made it exciting in his debut

SEATTLE – A dropped touchdown bomb. A blocked field goal that could have tied the game in the fourth quarter. Clearly, rookie head coach Adam Gase can’t fix everything about the Dolphins even when his playcalling is brilliant, which is wasn’t on Sunday.

Lost in this 12-10 loss at Seattle to open the season is a bit of fourth-quarter magic from Ryan Tannehill, which is one of the things Miami fans have been clamoring for the last four years.

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Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashea

Plowing 86 yards in seven plays late in the fourth quarter, the Miami offense wiped away all the frustration that came before, including just four first downs through three quarters. Tannehill was in the middle of it all, too, right down to his 2-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw with 4:08 to play.

Gase pumped his fist on the sidelines to mark his relief, knowing that the Dolphins defense still had more work to do but celebrating all the same. His NFL coaching debut was all about toughness, mental as well as physical, and the Seahawks won it in the end, converting a couple of desperate fourth-downs on a winning touchdown drive of 14 plays and 75 yards.

Wasted in the process was a great defensive effort by Miami until that point, featuring a couple of takeaways and consistent pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson by Cameron Wake and the rest of the defensive line. It didn’t help that wide receiver DeVante Parker was unavailable to Gase, or that running back Jay Ajayi didn’t even make the trip to Seattle. That second one was Gase’s choice, another attempt to establish his authority.

Any way you slice it, though, there is a talent gap between Miami and the league’s top contenders. Through a long, tense afternoon, one that started with the provocative decision by four Dolphins to kneel during the national anthem, it took everything the Dolphins had to sluggish Seahawks from breaking free, and for most of the game Miami didn’t look significantly better on offense than it was a year ago.

That will drive him with a trip to New England coming up next week. It’s a game that Miami could win. Simply talking about a potential 2-0 start with a schedule like this is a departure from all we have come to expect from the Dolphins in recent years. Credit Gase with changing our minds, and the Dolphins’ attitude, too.

Gase’s fourth-down gamble in the first quarter was a solid move. Too bad the execution wasn’t sharp, with Arian Foster getting stuffed fno gain at the Seattle 17-yard line and a field-goal opportunity going by the boards. Either way, it’s good to see an aggressive coach trying to make a statement with his new team, one that shows faith in his defense and emphasizes his own responsibility for inventive playcalling.

It would have been easier to go by the book there, but really, how would that be any different than Joe Philbin still coaching here?

Check back later for a full column with locker-room quotes and reactions. It’s going to be an interesting season. Even the national anthem had drama. Even this loss had hope.