Adjustment time for Madison

These are not easy times for Sam Madison. Not only is he trying to learn the new defensive system being installed by Coach Nick Saban, he's also facing a transition period after the departure of longtime cornerback partner Patrick Surtain.

"You know, it was hard," Madison said about the Surtain trade. "It was hard when Terrell Buckley left. I played with him for a few years and got used to having him on the other side. Then Pat came in. It's always tough when you play with a guy for a long period of time and he moves on. But me and Pat talked over the last few years. We discussed it. It could have been him and it could have been me. Fortunately it was him.

"It's the business part of it. And over the last few years we haven't had that key player until this past season with Pat. Now we finally realize and see how it affects different guys."

By all accounts, Madison wasn't happy about the way the whole Surtain situation was handled because he believed that when he agreed to restructure his contract last offseason, the money saved would be used to sign Surtain to a long-term contract.

That obviously never happened, and that led to Surtain being traded.

At least, Madison was happy to see Surtain get the lucrative contract he wanted. When asked if Surtain was worth the $50 million he got (over seven years), Madison didn't hesitate with his answer.

"Yeah. Because we've done some tremendous things here over the last few years. I still believe he's going to be able to do those things with Kansas City. I mean, they have a great defensive line. Linebackers they drafted. A style of play that we instilled in each other is going to allow him to go out and make plays. So I still see him making those type of plays.

"He's worth every penny. Just like every other corner. The receivers are getting bigger and faster, but you know, people always talk about you want bigger, faster, physical corners. They go out there and get them and they still can't do the things that we've done."

As far as Madison is concerned, he can still do everything he's done since joining the Dolphins as a second-round pick in 1997.

Madison was asked what stage of his career he believed he was in: "You tell me," he answered. "Pretty much the last few years you've all been saying I'm at the end. But I'm still here. Still doing my thing. We'll see.

"We still have a long way to go. But I'm still teaching. Guys come to me and ask questions. I've been helping them so far. And right now, I'm back at a learning stage. Over the last eight years, I was able to tell defensive line, linebackers what to do. But now, it's all learning for me. I've played in a system for eight years, so there are things I picked up with my last scheme that I can transfer."

But there is a lot to learn for Madison and the rest of his defensive teammates. And that's just what they've been doing in the offseason, including the days of organized team activity (OTA).

"Man, believe me, it's flying," Madison said. "He's throwing in stuff left and right. The thing about it is guys are responding very well. We've picked up on it very fast. Guys have to get used to the verbiage. But basically we've had some pretty good showings. Guys seem to be picking things up pretty well. We're having fun out there. Guys are moving around."

As for who will replace Surtain, Madison didn't offer an opinion, saying he's going to leave that up to the coaching staff.

But he does know whoever that person is will be tested.

"Just like when I stepped in with Troy (Vincent), it allowed me to solidify who Sam Madison is, making plays," he said. "And then once Terrell left I (became) a cornerstone in this defense as a pretty good corner. Then Pat moved in and they tried to make plays on him and he solidified himself as a pretty good corner. Then you know it gets kind of a nose dive because nobody was getting any passes.

"It doesn't matter whoever is on the opposite side. He's going to have a chance to make a lot of plays."


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