DAVIE, Fla. — Linebacker Lawrence Timmons apologized publicly to the Miami Dolphins and their fans for going AWOL on the eve of the season opener, but declined to say it won’t happen again.
Coach Adam Gase said his trust in Timmons has been restored, and the veteran might play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in London.
Timmons was suspended indefinitely after he vanished before Miami’s win at the Los Angeles Chargers. The 11th-year veteran shed no light Wednesday regarding what transpired, but said he was sorry and didn’t want to be a distraction.
"I’m just happy to be a Miami Dolphin again," Timmons said. "I just want to play football and be the best I can."
He repeated that message in response to every question during an awkward 2 1/2-minute news conference, using the word "happy" 19 times.
The decision to lift the suspension after one week was not difficult, Gase said.
"I felt good about where we were at with him," Gase said. "We worked through a couple of things. He handled the business he needed to handle, and I’m glad he’s back."
Teammates have been unanimous in saying they welcome Timmons’ return, despite uncertainty about whether his disappearance was a one-time thing.
"If it’s not, it’s going to be dealt with," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "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 expect him to fall in line like everybody else."
The linebacker group added a reinforcement when Rey Maualuga returned to practice Wednesday. He was inactive for the first two games because of a hamstring injury.
Timmons hadn’t missed a game since 2010. He signed a $12 million, two-year deal in March after 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.