WEEKEND NOTES

Aside from their disappointing performance against Baltimore in Sunday's wild-card playoff game at Pro Player Stadium, there was a lot of news involving the Dolphins this weekend.<P>Among the noteworthy items was cornerback Sam Madison being named as a starter for the AFC Pro Bowl team.<P>

Madison was selected to start alongside Charles Woodson of Oakland, with Denver's Deltha O'Neal serving as a backup at cornerback.

Not surprisingly, Zach Thomas didn't get the starting nod at middle linebacker, that honor going to Baltimore's Ray Lewis.

Madison and Thomas were the only Dolphins players selected to the Pro Bowl, although defensive end Jason Taylor, safety Brock Marion and kicker Olindo Mare are all first alternates. They will go to the game if any of the players selected ahead of them bow out of the game.

PLAYERS SIGNED

The Dolphins got an early jump on the 2002 season on Saturday when they signed six players to contracts for next season.

Teams were allowed to sign players not under contract the day after the regular season ended.

The most prominent player on the list was safety Scott Shields, who spent two seasons with Pittsburgh after being the Steelers' second-round pick in 1999.

Shields is 6-4, 229 and arrives with a reputation as an athletic guy who is a big hitter. But he was waived by the Steelers during the 2000 regular season because of a nasty habit of missing tackles.

Still, Shields could turn into a find if he can harness his talent.

Four of the other players signed spent time with the Dolphins this season, either on the active roster, on the practice squad or during training camp. They are fullback Matt Kalapinski, cornerback Zebbie Lethridge, defensive tackle Otis Pitts and running back Jerry Westbrooks.

The last player signed was running back Marlon Barnes, who spent time in the Chicago Bears camp this summer.

KONRAD ON IR

The day before the Baltimore game, fullback Rob Konrad was placed on injured reserve because of complications from his rib injury.

Konrad has a pneumothorax condition, and there could have been dangerous implications had Konrad been hit in the chest area.

To replace Konrad on the active roster, the Dolphins promoted wide receiver Robert Baker from the practice squad.

Baker was in uniform for the game against Baltimore, while rookie Chris Chambers sat out after his injured ankle failed to respond to treatment.


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