Friday, October 9, 2009

Former Miami Dolphins in the UFL

The upstart United Football League kicked off last night, with former Buffalo Bills first-round pick J. P. Losman leading the Las Vega Locomotives to a 30-17 victory over the California Redwoods.

Comprised of four teams all led by NFL coaching veterans, the UFL's rosters are primarily made up of former NFL players and camp bodies, as well as players from the arena leagues.

Among them is a handful of former Miami Dolphins, so I thought now would be a good time to take a look at some of the familiar faces trying to maintain a pro football career in the UFL.

FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo (California Redwoods) — Ayanbadejo played in all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2002, primarily playing special teams while earning two starts at fullback. He proved to be a solid receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 12 passes for 53 yards. His brother, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, was also on the team during that time.

WR Jayson Foster (Florida Tuskers) — A fan favorite during the 2008 offseason after signing as an undrafted free agent, Foster's diminutive size prevented him from earning a spot on the Dolphins as a wide receiver and return specialist. He bounced around practice squads all of last season and failed to make the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.

DE Maurice Fountain (New York Sentinels) — A veteran of af2 and the AFL, Fountain sign with the Dolphins in early August as an outside linebacker in the team's 3-4 scheme. However, he failed to make a lasting impression and was waived during final cuts less than a month later.

TE Keith Heinrich (Florida Tuskers) — A former Carolina Panther, Heinrich signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 but failed to make the team.

WR David Kircus (Las Vegas Locomotives) — After sitting out the 2007 season, Kircus joined the Dolphins during the 2008 offseason. He was waived prior to the regular season on Aug. 22, which is a date that is more notable for being MY BIRTHDAY.

DB Norman LeJeune (California Redwoods) — LeJeune was a member of the Dolphins during part of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, appearing in seven total games and recording two tackles. He was also one of the main reasons J. P. Losman threw three touchdown passes to Lee Evans in the first quarter of a game in 2005, though the Dolphins ended up winning on the final play of the game. The Dolphins released LeJeune in the 2007 offseason.

DB David Lofton (New York Sentinels) — The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton, the Dolphins signed David as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2007. He was waived in July 29 before the preseason began and later went on to play in the CFL.

OG Gene Mruczkowski (Florida Tuskers) — A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Mruczkowski played in 15 games as a reserve lineman for the Dolphins in 2007. He is coming out of retirement from the NFL to play for the Tuskers.

WR Frank Murphy (Florida Tuskers) — A veteran receiver who has seen most of his NFL playing time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Murphy signed with the Dolphins in 2006 but was waived prior to the regular season.

WR Tab Perry (Las Vegas Locomotives) — After three injury-riddled seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Perry signed with the Dolphins in 2008 as the team looked to upgrade their return game. A torn Achilles' tendon in May ended those hopes, as Perry spent his one season with the Dolphins on injured reserve.

WR Bobby Sippio (California Redwoods) — An Arena Football League star with over 5,000 receiving yards and 140 touchdowns, Sippio has bounced around various pro leagues for years but has been unable to secure a long-term spot in the NFL. He spent part of the 2004 season on the Dolphins' injured reserve list after suffering a knee injury in the preseason, and never played a game with the team.

OG Orrin Thompson (New York Sentinels) — A defensive tackle at Duke, Thompson was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and converted to the offensive line. After spending parts of the next two seasons on the practice squad, Thompson was signed by the Green Bay Packers.