When the Dolphins cut Chad Johnson following his arrest on domestic violence charges, it didn’t sit well with everyone in the Miami locker room. And three team leaders sat down with head coach Joe Philbin to express their concerns.
The Hard Knocks cameras were inside the closed-door meeting in which Reggie Bush, Karlos Dansby and Jake Long talked to Philbin, and although all three players were even-tempered and respectful, they indicated that they think the coaching staff and front office could do a better job of communicating with players who may be in danger of losing their jobs. Dansby had already said publicly that he wasn’t happy with the decision to cut Johnson, and Bush told Philbin privately that he also had concerns.
Philbin listened to what the players had to say, but he also made clear when addressing the team that players getting cut is part of the business they’re in.
“We’re going to have to cut this team to 53 guys, OK? And there’s going to have to be some tough decisions that have to be made, and you’re not going to agree with every decision,” Philbin told the team. “But at the end of the day you have to be supportive. . . . If you have a problem, go see your coach. Go see me.”
Long acknowledged that the players in the Dolphins’ locker room haven’t always done a good job of demanding the best of each other, but he said he thinks this year’s team has the right leaders in place to change that. Bush, Dansby and Long all said they’d like to have a committee of team leaders who would keep in close contact with the coaches about issues inside the locker room, and Philbin said he liked that idea.
“I think it’s great,” Philbin said. “I’m all for it.”
Bush said that when it comes to keeping players in line, veteran team leaders can take some of the heavy lifting from the coaches.
“The more the players take control of the team, I think the better for us,” Bush said. “When your brothers — your teammates — talk to you, I think it resonates a little more.”
If this incident leads to clearer communication inside the locker room, then Chad Johnson may end up contributing something to the Dolphins.