MIAMI » The quip dates to the end of the 2008 season, when injury-prone Chad Pennington was selected the NFL comeback player of the year for a second time.
Pennington was asked the secret to winning such an award twice.
"Get hurt," the Miami Dolphins quarterback said with a laugh, "and then come back."
The cycle continues. Pennington suffered a season-ending injury last September, necessitating surgery on his right shoulder for the third time. Now, at age 34, he’s trying to revive his career in what could also set some sort of NFL record for resilience.
"I don’t think anybody has tried to come back from three shoulder surgeries," he said.
The latest injury cost Pennington a starting job. Second-year pro Chad Henne moved into the lineup and threw for 2,878 yards last season, and the Dolphins believe they’re set at the position for years to come.
Pennington opted to re-sign with Miami this year as a backup rather than join another team where he might compete for a starting job.
"I felt like this was the place for me to be," he said. "Part of it was I wanted to help finish what we started in 2008."
Pennington came to the Dolphins that season and had the best year of his career. He earned the affectionate nickname "Coach Pennington" from teammates because of his take-charge personality, and threw for 3,653 yards to help transform the Dolphins into AFC East champions one year after a 1-15 season.
Last year, the Dolphins backslid to 7-9, and they haven’t won a playoff game since 2000. But expectations for the Bill Parcells regime remain high, and Pennington’s job this year will be to provide leadership as a backup QB.
It’s a tricky role when a young starting quarterback is trying to assert himself. But coach Tony Sparano says Henne’s authority won’t be diminished by Pennington’s presence, and both quarterbacks agree.
"Chad understands that he has my full support," Pennington said. "The last thing that I want to do is undermine him. He knows that. I’ve talked in front of the offense about that, to make sure they understand he’s our quarterback, period."
Jets release Coles
Laveranues Coles’ third tour with the Jets ended before it really got started. Now, the popular wide receiver’s career could be over.
Unless, of course, New York brings him back a fourth time.
Coles was released yesterday, a month after the Jets brought him back to add depth at the wide receiver spot. The 32-year-old Coles had four catches for 19 yards in three preseason games.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said it’s "a real possibility" the team could re-sign Coles after the first week of the season.
"He did an outstanding job for us," Ryan said. "He’s a leader. He came in here and I know he knows the system. He’s tougher than nails. He’s a great teammate."
After signing him to a one-year, $855,000 deal in July, that money would’ve been guaranteed if he made the opening-day roster. It would not be guaranteed if he’s re-signed after Week 1.