FORT LAUDERDALE — With one month remaining until the start of free agency, Chad Pennington said Thursday he’s still wavering between the prospect of returning to the Dolphins — even if it’s in a backup role — and looking to go elsewhere as a starter.http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedaily ... -dolphins/
“Sometimes, wherever the starting opportunity is, that’s where I want to go,” he said. “And sometimes I wake up and go, ‘You know, it’s what’s best for me and my family, and where I enjoy going to work.’
“This is 10 years for me, and I want to enjoy every day of it,” he continued, “and want to be in a place where we have a chance to win and contribute and be of value. All of us want to be valued wherever we work. So I’ve got all kinds of little voices in my head every day. It’s gonna be a tough decision, and that’s why right now I want to focus on the rehab and let the rest take care of itself.”
Pennington, who underwent surgery Oct. 2 to repair a torn capsule and labrum in his shoulder, said his rehab has gone well and he’ll visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 15 in hopes of being cleared to throw.
“Free agency starts on March 5, so that was my goal all along, to be ready for free agency in case I needed to work out, in case a team needs me to throw to see my progress,” he said. “I’m right where I need to be to reach that goal; to be able to go out and throw and work out, I think I can do that.”
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has admitted to having a fondness for Pennington in the time they’ve worked together, and Pennington spoke as if he could handle serving as a backup to Chad Henne if that’s the way things worked out.
“There’s always a need for a good quarterback in this league, and always a need for leadership,” he said. “And you don’t have to lead from a starter’s role.
“I’ll look at the different opportunities, and want to make sure it’s best for me as a player, and also best for my family.”
While it’s been assumed the starting job has now transferred from Pennington to Henne, Sparano has made no definitive statements regarding his starter for 2010, prompting speculation that Pennington might still be in the mix.
Pennington admitted there were times following his injury in the Dolphins’ game Sept. 27 at San Diego that he wonder if his career might be over at age 33.
“I was totally deflated, to say the least,” he said. “All those thoughts went through my mind for quite some time, until I was able to have the surgery and kind of get a realistic outlook. When (Dr. Andrews) had the positive outlook I was able to set my sights on my rehab, and what I needed to do to come back.
“I was fortunate not to have any rotator cuff damage; it was merely a separation and capsule repair. So the rehab has been smoother than the first two times (he had surgery).”
If it turned out the Dolphins aren’t interested, Pennington said he’d be open to “all comers” — even the New England Patriots if they were to call.
“The opportunity to play in this league, there’s only 1,800 of us. I want to take advantage of any opportunity.”
He said he will continue to use the Dolphins’ facilities, at least until his contract expires.
“I’m under contract through March 4 so I can use their facilities until they say, ‘Hey, get outta here.’ So I would be dumb not to.”