NOTEBOOK: Dolphins Hope Slaton Returns To '08 Form

Posted Sep 29, 2011

Looking for depth at the running back position and for flexibility in the return game, the Miami Dolphins welcomed Steve Slaton into the fold and onto the practice field for the first time toda

“We brought Steve in here kind of knowing that obviously we have the bye next week and this gives us a little bit of a chance here to do some things and get a good look,” Head Coach Tony Sparano said. “The timing was absolutely right and of course we’re in the business of trying to get good players and this guy was a pretty good player. That would be one of the reasons. I wouldn’t tell you the role right at this second.”

It was a pretty interesting couple of weeks for Slaton as he was on the visitors’ sideline back on September 18th when the Dolphins hosted the Houston Texans at Sun Life Stadium. He carried the ball once for zero yards, having no idea that 10 days later he’d be wearing the number 23 for those same Dolphins.

Though he is similar in build and skill set to Reggie Bush, Slaton isn’t quite sure how he will be utilized. He likes to use his speed on screens like Bush does and insists he is 100 percent after the neck injury ended his 2009 season a year after he racked up 1,282 yards on the ground as a rookie and caught 50 passes for 377 yards.

“I had a little hiatus but I’m ready to get back on the field and I feel about the same as I did my rookie year,” said Slaton, who was Houston’s third-round draft pick in 2008. “I just want to come in here and learn as much as I can in a short period of time and help the team anyway I can. I pride myself on making plays and first and foremost being a playmaker as a running back and putting points on the board. I didn’t get too much work during the preseason so I feel pretty fresh.”

Sparano is counting on the Slaton of 2008 showing up in his new uniform and based on what he’s seen on film and in one practice he believes that can come to fruition.

“In studying him right now, and just studying him before we went ahead and did this, I thought the guy was running the ball really well,” he said. “And getting the chance of seeing him a little here today I still see what I see. I see a young player that has good upside and I think that’s a good quality to have here at that position.”

INJURY UPDATE: Defensive lineman Tony McDaniel (hand) was the only Dolphins player not practicing today. … . Cornerback Vontae Davis (hamstring) linebacker Koa Misi (neck) and rookie running back Daniel Thomas (hamstring were limited and right guard Vernon Carey, cornerback Will Allen (hamstring) and wide receiver Roberto Wallace (quad) practiced in full.

For the Chargers, defensive ends Luis Castillo (tibia) and Jacques Cesaire (knee), wide receivers Malcolm Floyd (groin) and Vincent Jackson (abdomen), tight end Antonio Gates (foot) and cornerback Quentin Jammer (hamstring) and running back Ryan Matthews (foot) did not practice. Matthews was limited on Wednesday … Defensive end Corey Liuget (ankle) participated in a full practice after being limited Wednesday.

EX-DOLPHINS ELIGIBLE FOR HALL OF FAME: The preliminary list of nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was released and six former Dolphins players or coaches were on the list.

Former Dolphins safety Troy Vincent is among the 11 first-year eligible nominees and he is joined by former Dolphins wide receivers Mark Clayton and Cris Carter, punter Reggie Roby. Former Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson and former Dolphins defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger also are on the list.

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