GARDENER IS GONE

In a move that had nothing to do with ability or the salary cap, the Dolphins released defensive end Daryl Gardener on Friday.<P>

The move, which would have been shocking a week ago, didn't come as a tremendous surprise after the stories that surfaced this week.

It was revealed earlier this week that the Dolphins were going to withhold a $200,000 workout bonus because Gardener didn't meet the 90 percent attendance requirement for the offseason work.

While Gardener wasn't happy about the prospect of losing that money and planned to contest the Dolphins' accounting of his attendance, his agent said Gardener was ready to show up for the start of training camp July 28.

Gardener was released after the Dolphins acquired defensive end Jay Williams in a trade with Carolina, but this wasn't a case of upgrading the position but rather getting rid of a player who had become a problem for the Dolphins.

"We have released Daryl after the acquisition of Jay in a move that I feel is in the best interest of the team," Coach Dave Wannstedt said in a prepared statement.

Gardener was a starter throughout his six seasons in Miami, but a bad back cause him to miss a lot of action the last two seasons. He was limited to 10 games in 2000 and eight games last year.

He may have been having his best season when he was sidelined last year with 36 tackles and four sacks.

Sports Illustrated named him to its midseason all-pro team.

Releasing Gardener will save the Dolphins approximately $3 million of cap space.


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