After 48 hours filled with mostly confusion and hearsay, the single fact that remains clear is that Lawrence Timmons committed what is arguably the most serious crime in sports – he abandoned his teammates. Timmons, who signed a 2 year, $12 million free agent contract this offseason with the Miami Dolphins, disappeared Saturday night from the team’s Los Angeles hotel, and did not report to the game the following day. The real question is, why?
The Dolphins promptly filed a missing persons’ report for the missing linebacker, who was eventually found Sunday morning at LAX, about to board a flight to Pennsylvania to visit his daughter, purportedly. A Dolphins representative boarded the flight to accompany Timmons, who has since been suspended indefinitely by the team, without pay.
Photo Source: dailydolphin.blog.palmbeachpost.com
One of the Dolphins’ most important acquisitions this offseason, Timmons was expected to provide stability and production to a thin and inexperienced linebacker core, after 10 strong years with the Pittsburgh Steelers that averaged 70 tackles per season, and compiled 35.5 career sacks. When asked to comment on the situation, Dolphins’ Head Coach Adam Gase was non-committal on the action the team would eventually take with Timmons, once the suspension is eventually lifted.
While Timmons did not commit any crimes, or violate any league rules, he committed a felony in one of the only arenas that is relevant in this case – an NFL locker room. Football is an all or nothing business, one that requires the literal blood, sweat, and tears of its athletes on a weekly basis, more so than the other major American sports. While it is yet unclear whether his teammates and coach will welcome him back with open arms once his penance has been paid, many of the team’s fans have already chosen to move on from him, and have applauded the team’s decision to suspend the linebacker, even with full knowledge of how weak the team is at his position.
As short-sighted and rash as this may seem, it also opens the discussion as to why Timmons would choose to make such a decision in the first place, especially knowing how serious the situation would be viewed by his organization and his fans. As with every NFL athlete, the first thought is always the possibility of showing signs of CTE-related symptoms. Timmons met with team doctors on Monday, who do not believe the incident to be CTE related.
Timmons’ situation certainly bears watching in the coming weeks, however, as when any athlete in a contact sport displays erratic behavior. Especially for a guy who was essentially football’s iron man, having made 120 consecutive starts until this past Sunday, which was the longest active streak in the league.
UPDATE: It has since been uncovered that Timmons visited a Pittsburgh Steelers practice during the Dolphins Week 1 impromptu bye week, due to Hurricane Irma. His Steelers ex-teammates were reportedly surprised to see Timmons there, as he is obviously under contract with another NFL team. He was also reportedly telling Steelers players that he missed being around them, and regrets leaving Pitsburgh.
This news will almost undoubdedly signal the beginning of the end of Timmons’ career in Miami, before it ever even began. As already states, he has been suspended indefinitely by the team, and NFL teams do not have a history of tolerating players who are not all-in on the organization and its culture.