Satele Proving You Can Go Home Again

Posted Aug 4, 2014

Center brings plenty of starting experience, having opened 98 of his 102 career games, including all 32 during his two seasons with the Dolphins in 2007 and 2008.

Samson Satele practiced Monday at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University for the first time since the end of the 2008 season, and it didn’t take him long to notice some differences.

“Everything is more updated,” said Satele, who was signed Saturday after the team’s practice/scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. “Starting in the bubble is good. We usually started in full pads out here. As soon as I stepped on the field I was like, wow, my rookie year seems like yesterday.”

Satele didn’t look much different than he did the last time he suited up in a game for the Dolphins, except for a few gray hairs.

He was 25 years old when he left the Dolphins as the result of a trade with the Oakland Raiders and returns as a 29-year-old looking to learn the offense in a hurry and compete for the starting center job during the absence of Mike Pouncey.

“Last night, to tell you the truth, it was all spinning in the air,” Satele said. “But I came out here and got a couple of reps in and now it’s calming down a lot. The more reps I get, the better I get.

“I got a good opportunity to start a couple of games here before big boy Mike comes back. It’s a lot more film for me, I guess.”

In his first practice with the Dolphins on Monday, Satele alternated taking first-team reps at center with Sam Brenner.

The Dolphins open their preseason schedule Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, and Satele has no doubt he’ll be ready to play, even start if that’s what he’s asked to do.

“Oh yeah, I’ll be ready,” Satele said. “I mean, it’s not my first rodeo. First day today, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but tomorrow will be better and Wednesday will be better and Friday we’re going on.”

When Satele stepped onto the practice field Monday, he was reunited with only four old teammates from that 2008 Dolphins team — John Denney, Brandon Fields, Nate Garner and Randy Starks.

The addition of Satele gives the Dolphins another option at center. Along with Brenner and Satele, Nate Garner and Shelley Smith also have gotten reps at center with the first-team offense so far in training camp.

Satele brings plenty of starting experience, having opened 98 of his 102 career games, including all 32 during his two seasons with the Dolphins in 2007 and 2008.

“We’re always looking for competition,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “We have to find the best people who give us the best chance to win games. Nothing more than that.

“We did our research. Obviously, he was here and all the people who came in contact with him in the building when he was here spoke highly of him as an individual and a person.”

Satele originally joined the Dolphins as a second-round pick in the 2007 draft and experienced extreme highs and lows during his two seasons in Miami, as the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 before rebounding to go 11-5 while winning the AFC East title in 2008.

Satele, much to his chagrin, was traded in the spring of 2009. Coming back wasn’t something he anticipated, but he’s more than happy it has happened.

“It’s a full circle,” he said. “(In) 2009, I was bummed, but it’s a business. I understand it. Like I said, it’s a full circle. It’s good to be back. No snow during December and all that time. I’m happy.”

Satele ended up spending three seasons in Oakland before he signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2012. In both of his seasons with the Colts, Satele went to the playoffs.

He sees the same kind of potential in his old/new team.

“We had a good group of guys (in Indy),” Satele said. “I see the same thing here, but a lot better guys here. We’ve got a lot of potential here to push for a championship. We’ve just got to put it together. I’ve got to put it together faster than everybody. We got potential, too.”
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