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Day 9 Notebook: New Receivers Have Ties To Dolphins; Other Notes

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Pruitt, Davis reunited with familiar faces while Thigpen gets additional work.



The two young wide receivers signed by the Dolphins on Wednesday both arrived with some familiarity with their new team.

For Julius Pruitt, this marks a second stint with the Dolphins after he appeared in nine regular season games in 2011 and was part of the team in training camp last summer. For Keenan Davis, he’s back with former college teammate Marvin McNutt as well as their offensive coordinator at the University of Iowa, Dolphins wide receivers coach Ken O’Keefe.

“I’m just blessed, just excited to be back,” Pruitt said. “It’s unfortunate what happened last year, but I’m just here to learn, here to get better every single day, do whatever I can to not let last year happen this year.”

Pruitt didn’t catch a pass in his nine games with the Dolphins in 2011 but contributed on special teams. He had seven receptions, tied for second on the team, during the 2012 preseason.

He had been out of football since being released by the Dolphins on Aug. 27 but never gave up the dream of playing in the NFL.

“It was tough,” said the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Pruitt. “It was kind of heartbreaking at the same time. I have a 3-month-old daughter now (her name is Leilani Annette Pruitt). That’s a blessing in my life. That kind of kept me busy and focused. That was definitely a blessing.

“I was just on my own, just training, being a father. That’s what kept me going, kept me pushing trying to get back out to this point right here.”

As for Davis, he joined the Dolphins a week after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

He went undrafted this past April despite being invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Davis finished second in receptions for Iowa each of the last two seasons with 50 catches in 2011 and 47 last year. The team leader in 2011 with 82 receptions was McNutt, who is among a large group of young receivers trying to make the Dolphins roster.

“This is really my first time really being away from home, because I was born in Iowa and I went to Iowa, then to have some familiar faces kind of makes you feel at home,” Davis said. “In college I was competing against (McNutt). You’re competing against the defense, you’re competing against everybody. We’re best friends — that’s my brother. So me and him are just going to go out and try to make each other better.”

Pruitt and Davis both were signed after taking part in a tryout that also included more veteran NFL receivers.

Pruitt admitted being nervous beforehand. Very nervous.

“I had jitters, I’m not going to lie,” Pruitt said. “It was bad. It was butterflies, the whole nine. I was pretty nervous, but I’m glad it worked out. After the workout, nothing happened right then. I went back home, saw my daughter, took a nap, but then I woke up to a phone call. And that’s what it was.”

SLOT WORK

Marcus Thigpen, who is coming off a memorable season as a kick returner, has been getting work in practice as a slot receiver in addition to getting time at running back.

A running back at the University of Indiana before joining the Dolphins by way of the Canadian Football League, Thigpen says he’s happy to help however the team chooses.

“It doesn’t matter, it’s where they need me,” Thigpen said Wednesday. “They need me to play slot, I’ll be there. My heart is definitely at running back, but anywhere I can help the team, I’m definitely ready for it.”

LEARNING THE ROPES

First-round pick Dion Jordan has progressively been getting more work in practice since he came off the Non-Football Injury list eight days ago, and he says he’ll only get better the more on-field action he gets.

“Now that I’m getting reps, it’s really important to watch myself (on film),” Jordan said. “The more I’m out there, the more I’ll start to feel comfortable and I’ll just start to pick up things a little faster.”

Jordan says he’s already noticed a difference in going from college football to the NFL.

“Some big tackles in college, too, it’s just at this level everybody is smarter,” he said. “The game is just a little different. You’ve got to keep up with these guys not only physically but mentally.”

THIS AND THAT

For the first time in three practices, the workout didn’t end with an interception by rookie cornerback Will Davis. This time it ended with a 42-yard field goal from fellow rookie Caleb Sturgis. It was the first time Sturgis had kicked since last Wednesday. Yet another Dolphins draft pick, second-round choice Jamar Taylor, took part in drills for the first time since July 22. … Wide receiver Brian Tyms stood out during the night practice in front of a large crowd at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern as he made several catches. The highlight was a bomb from Matt Moore in a one-on-one drill. Fellow wideout Marvin McNutt also had a spectacular one-handed catch early in practice. … Linebacker Philip Wheeler had the only interception of the practice when he corralled a pass that first was deflected by cornerback Brent Grimes. … Three songs were played during the stretching period inside the bubble, and interestingly “Type of Way” by Rich Homie Quan featuring Jermaine Dupri was played twice. It was sandwiched around “Gal a Bubble” by Konshense.

THE LAST WORD

Jordan, who played tight end in high school and as a redshirt freshman at Oregon, on whether he misses catching passes:

“Nah, I like sacking quarterbacks.”
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