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It was a move that probably didn’t seem terribly significant at the time, coming as it did in mid-December with the Dolphins having only two games left and being out of playoff contention.
Eight months later, though, the acquisition of cornerback
Claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns after the Dolphins found themselves short-handed at cornerback, Patterson was in the starting lineup just five days after joining the team. Now in his first training camp with the Dolphins, Patterson is competing with 2012 opening-day starter
So far this summer, Patterson seemingly has done his part.
“I think he’s played well,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said after practice Wednesday. “I like his quickness, I like his athleticism. He’s very decisive out there. He’s been competitive. I think he’s done a good job.”
Between his time in Cleveland and Miami, Patterson ended up starting six games in 2012, the second-highest total of his six-year NFL career behind the nine starts he had for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010.
While he says earning a starting job always is a goal heading into a training camp, there is a bigger priority.
“The thing about the NFL is just have to take it one day at a time,” Patterson said. “Everybody has a vision as far as where they want to be and so forth and so on, and sometimes they achieve that vision and sometimes it’s the opposite. Me personally, I’m always going to shoot for the best and whatever opportunity is there, just make the best of it. That’s kind of the mind-set I’ve had since I’ve been in it.”
Something else Patterson wouldn’t mind is a little stability in his career.
The native of Miami, who played his high school football in Orlando, is playing for his fifth team since entering the NFL with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2005.
In addition to being on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad in 2006, Patterson played with Washington in 2005, Kansas City in 2007-08, Philadelphia in 2009-10, and Cleveland in 2011 and for seven games in 2012. He has been involved in 17 career transactions.
“When you understand the make-up of this business, the structure of this business, it’s a very unique business,” Patterson said. “Guys don’t stay with one team. You can name guys that were drafted, high-profile guys, they’ve been two or three places. So you can imagine an undrafted guy. Any advice I would give anybody from the outside looking in or a player coming in is don’t really get caught up in the places where you’ve been, just be more concerned about your resume and the respect that you have within the league. And that’s what really matters at the end of the day.
“(But) I’m human at the end of the day. Nobody wants to be two years here, two years there, ideally. But it’s just part of it. Things go in certain directions and you make the most of it. It could easily be the opposite. You have guys that come in and they’re done forever. That’s part of it. It’s not the most comfortable thing at times, but the thing is it can be frustrating at times, honestly, but at the end of the day, if you’re working, that’s how you have to look at it.”
Patterson called being waived by Cleveland one day (Dec. 17), claimed by the Dolphins the next day (Dec. 18) and starting for Miami five days later (Dec. 23) a “whirlwind-type experience.”
“I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming, but everything happened so fast,” Patterson said. “I would like to call that a good situation, the reason being is I wasn’t available long. That’s a good thing. The tough thing was just coming in and getting acclimated within two or three days to be able to play on Sunday. Obviously, no one wants to have that term ‘being waived’ associated with their name, but things happen. Things don’t work out and you’ve got to move forward and then that’s it.
“It was a transition, like any other, but a little difficult, a little more unique because I had to play right away and be trying to sponge their concepts and defenses within a week. That’s something I had never done. That was a totally different challenge for me, but I was able to do it. I got through it and it ended up working out, working out well.”
Going through a training camp in South Florida after playing in the North or Midwest his whole NFL career, Patterson has had to get accustomed to the hot summer days. But he’s also had the benefit of being with the Dolphins from the start of training camp this year, which clearly has made things easier.
As for his performance so far in camp, Patterson says he’s “happy” with it.
“Obviously there are always plays you want to have back, but that’s part of football, that’s part of training camp, that’s part of getting back into the flow of things,” he said. “We always strive for perfection. It’s an ongoing thing. We all know no one will ever be perfect; you just try to get as close as possible. For the most part, football is about a body of work. So you want your body of work, the majority of it, to be positive. I can say that up to this point I have nothing to be upset about.”