Ahanotu gone AWOL

Coach Dave Wannstedt said Thursday the Dolphins internally would handle the situation involving veteran defensive lineman Chidi Ahanotu, who left the team this week. Whether he's traded or waived, it would be difficult to envision Ahanotu rejoining the Dolphins.

"Let's talk about the guys that are here," Wannstedt said Thursday when asked about Ahanotu. "He won't be playing this week. We know that, and I really don't have anything to talk about."

Ahanotu left the Dolphins because he's upset about his playing time, or lack thereof.

He was signed late in the preseason to provide depth after the Dolphins traded Adewale Ogunleye to the Chicago Bears, but the Dolphins later picked up veteran Bryan Robinson.

While Robinson has become a starter at defensive tackle, Ahanotu has gotten very little playing time.

Ahanotu signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins and he wants to be released or traded to a team that will use him more.

Given his age (Ahanotu turned 34 on Monday), it's not likely the Dolphins would get much in return in a trade.

But the last thing this team needs is another distraction in a season gone haywire from the start.

The trading deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m.

In other news:

-- Quarterback Jay Fiedler was back at practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday because of his rib injury. It's still too early to make any definitive declarations as to whether Fiedler will start Sunday at Buffalo, but one thing appears certain: It won't be Sage Rosenfels, much to the chagrin of many Dolphins fans who want to see what this guy can do.

-- Defensive tackle Tim Bowens has practiced both days and there's a real chance he could make his 2004 debut against the Bills.

-- No word yet on who will start at halfback and even who will be in uniform. Travis Minor could make his return from an ankle injury after practicing without major complications both Wednesday and Thursday.

-- Jimmy Johnson has denied a rumor that he could return to the Dolphins as general manager.

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