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Dolphins Sign Rosenfels; Henne On I.R.

Posted Oct 6, 2011

Clearly the injury to quarterback Chad Henne’s left non-throwing shoulder was worst than originally expected, which has opened the door for Sage Rosenfels’ return to the Miami Dolphins.

Four days after Henne put on a brave face and insisted he would be back sooner than anyone anticipates, the fourth-year quarterback will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the damage in that shoulder. That means he is being place on Injured Reserve, and backup Matt Moore will assume the starting role, with the veteran Rosenfels serving as experienced depth.

“It’s really disappointing (for Henne),” Head Coach Tony Sparano said. “The kid’s got a lot obviously invested in this whole thing right now with the amount of time that he spent this whole season with our offensive players. A large part of the way this group has started to play is due to what he did with them in the offseason on his own.”

From 2002-05, Rosenfels backed up Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley and has made a few more stops on his tour of the NFL, most recently with the New York Giants. Of his 12 regular-season starts in his career, only two came in Miami (one in 2004 and one in 2005).

Rosenfels has completed 351-of-562 passes for 4,156 yards, 30 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 10 seasons, with his two most productive years coming with the Houston Texans in 2007 and 2008. That second year in Houston in 2007 he completed 154-of-240 passes for 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in five starts.

“We brought several people in, took a look at several guys and I think Sage’s experience and the fact that Sage has had some quality snaps in games went into the decision,” said Sparano of Rosenfels, who originally was a fourth-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2001. “At the same time he was the guy that was the best in the workout.”

There is no doubt that Henne’s loss will be felt from a leadership standpoint, which is why the Dolphins went after another veteran to try and fill that void. Even on the day he learned he was going on the IR, Henne was on the practice field shouting words of encouragement to Moore.

Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long is perhaps the one person on the team who knows Henne best having blocked for him for four years at the University of Michigan before both went pro. Their make-up is similar when it comes to toughness, as Long proved last year by playing the last seven games in 2010 with a shoulder harness on his injured left shoulder.

“Chad’s one of those guys, he’s like me, he’ll do anything he can to get out on the field, but he can’t,” Long said. “Like I said, he’s going to be that leader off the field, too, and it’s tough.”

Through three games and a little over one series before the injury at San Diego, Henne had completed 64-of-112 passes for 868 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He was averaging 7.75 yards per pass attempt and was also the team’s third-leading rusher with 112 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

Opposing defenses sacked Henne 11 times for a total loss of 67 yards and he had taken a lot of hits, both in the backfield and at the end of runs. But it was clear that he was growing into the position and playing better while also earning the respect of his teammates, which explains why he took the bad news as hard as he did.

"I think he’s done a tremendous job to this point right now and has really improved and it’s unfortunate because I know the kid really wanted to see this whole thing through and finish it,” Sparano said. “I mean he’s a competitor and really a tough kid and he was obviously really disappointed. He’s the leader of the team and I think that part of it bothers him. It bothers him that he’s not going to be able to be out there with his teammates and compete, but we’ve got to get it done.”

Now the Dolphins will have to get it done with Henne watching from the sidelines and Moore calling the signals. Rosenfels will be back in the aqua and orange as insurance. Starting a week from Monday night at the New York Jets.
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