Raekwon McMillan has picked up where he left off last summer. In fact, he says he actually might be ahead of where he was before his rookie season was cut short.
Back after missing the 2017 season because of a knee injury he sustained on his first play of the preseason, McMillan has built on his impressive showing of the spring in the early days of camp.
He's practicing without a brace on the knee he injured, moving around well and showing all the mental aptitude that had Dolphins coaches so impressed with him last summer.
"I finally feel like I'm back to where I was," McMillan said, "and feeling a little better than I was when I went to camp last year."
McMillan had moved into a first-team role before he was injured last summer and that's where he lined up during the spring and in the first two days of training camp.
McMillan, however, isn't taking anything for granted.
"I was named a starter last year, so I had confidence in myself that I could come out here and do the same thing this year," he said. "Nothing is given in this league. I've got to come out here and earn it again."
Head Coach Adam Gase said McMillan has been everything the Dolphins thought he would be when they selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, and the final step is seeing McMillan in game action.
McMillan spent his season on the sideline rehabbing with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Gase said the linebacker benefited from having a competitor in the same situation as the two pushed each other.
There also was the benefit of having a year of learning the defense.
"Last year I felt like going into it, I didn't know all of the nuances," McMillan said. "I didn't know everything about the defense. This year, you've got to sit back and really see what the defense needed, where they need me to be and what my role would be on the defense. (I'm) coming in and fulfilling that role for them and doing everything I can to make this team better."
Practice report: Quarterback Brock Osweiler had two long completions in team drill, one down the sideline to Francis Owusu and the other down the middle to Albert Wilson. … Cornerback Torry McTyer, linebacker Quentin Poling and defensive end Jonathan Woodard all had interceptions. … Rookie free agent Greg Joseph took his turn doing the kicking and made 4 of 7 field goal attempts. … Offensive lineman Jake Brendel sat out with a minor calf injury.
Gore and Kilgore: Center Daniel Kilgore, who is entering his first season with the Dolphins after being acquired in an offseason trade, has been reunited with former 49ers teammate Frank Gore and he says nothing has changed despite Gore now being 35 years old. "Honestly, over the three years that we were away from each other, Frank is still the same person," Gore said. "Just knowing him for so long and knowing his work ethic, he's not lost a step. It's unbelievable what he does before practice, after practice, staying here till 9 at night, doing whatever he does to get himself ready for the next day and he's been doing it for so long. If you know Frank, to come back and be with him and watch him be able to play for his home team is pretty special."
Baby on the way: Kilgore revealed Friday that he and his wife are expecting their first child in September. The due date is Sept. 11, two days after the Dolphins' regular season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Kilgore said he and his wife have chosen not to find out the gender of the baby until the delivery. He also said he planned on being at Hard Rock Stadium and playing if the baby happens to arrive Sept. 9.
Fitzpatrick fitting in: First-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick compared Friday coming into the NFL to coming in as a freshman in college, with the approach being to say little and let your play do the talking. "That's it and that's kind of how I approach it," Fitzpatrick said. "I go in there, I sit in my locker, listen to everybody talk, observe, see what they're doing and I just follow and lead where I can lead." Fitzpatrick didn't shy away from saying his goal was to become an immediate starter on the Dolphins defense. "It is, just because I'm used to playing," he said. "I'm going to go out there and work my hardest to earn that starting spot. It is important to me."
Birthday wishes: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill practiced Friday on his 30th birthday. He became the 11th player on the Dolphins roster who's 30 or older, joining Danny Amendola, John Denney, Frank Gore, William Hayes, Reshad Jones, Daniel Kilgore, Ted Larsen, Josh Sitton, Cameron Wake and Sam Young. The oldest player on the team is Denney, who will turn 40 on Dec. 13.
Youth is served: In keeping with their commitment to youth football, the Dolphins welcomed members of the Miami Columbus High School football team and the North Miami Police Athletic League to practice Friday. After watching practice, the players got the chance to meet Dolphins players and get autographs. This visit was particularly significant for Dolphins running back Brandon Radcliff, who played at Columbus before attending the University of Louisville.