The Dolphins have brought former Bengals running back Mark Walton to town for a tryout at rookie minicamp. So why are the Dolphins providing an opportunity to a player who faces pending criminal charges?
“I think people deserve a second chance,” coach Brian Flores said Saturday, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “I believe that. I think that’s the case. I don’t want to judge people based on one incident. Two incidents. [Editor’s note: Three incidents.] I think it’s a case-by-case situation for a player and for people in general. That’s kind of my stance.”
Of course, it’s not like the Dolphins have given Walton a job.
“He’s here on a tryout,” Flores said. “Obviously, talented player. But we want to take a look at him and see if he was a fit for us, on the field and off the field. I think he’s done a good job, really in the one day that he’s been here. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Flores said that the organization “discussed” Walton’s pending legal issues.
“[A]gain, it’s a tryout,” Flores said. “And just that’s kind of part of the process. Getting to know him. And getting to see him on and off the field.”
That’s fair, but here’s the point to remember when it comes to second chances for NFL players. With a fixed number of jobs, every player who gets a second chance necessarily takes away someone else’s spot — quite possibly, someone who never did anything that would require a second chance.
But talent continues to fuel NFL second chances. If a guy is good (and Walton was good enough to be a fourth-round pick in 2018), he gets a second chance. If a guy isn’t good, no second chance.
So that’s the key addition to Flores’ stance. “I think people deserve a second chance . . . if they’re talented enough to deserve that second chance.”