Sounding The Horn

It may have been another routine day of practice for the Dolphins, but it's what happened off the field that made things interesting. Specifically, we're talking about stories involving two established players, Ronnie Brown and Joe Horn.

We'll start with Brown, and the suggestion coming from ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen that the Dolphins might be looking to trade him before the start of the regular season.

The story came out after Mortensen spent some time before the Jacksonville game Saturday night talking on the sideline with Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland.

Sparano was asked Tuesday about the possibility of Brown being traded and quickly shot that down.

"No chance that we're trading Ronnie," Sparano quickly replied. "I understand another rumor is flying out there one way or the other. Last week it was (John) Beck, this week it's Ronnie. There was no discussion of that internally or externally, none."

The truth is that is just doesn't make sense for Brown to get traded, and for a lot of reasons.

From the Dolphins' standpoint, they have a tremendous 1-2 punch at running back with Ricky Williams and Brown, but there's a considerable drop-off behind those two and trading Brown would leave them with no proven backup.

Then there's the issue of having to totally depend on Williams. From a football standpoint, there's no problem. But given Williams' history, the Dolphins would be foolish to put everything on him.

That's what got Dave Wannstedt in trouble in the first place in 2004.

From another team's standpoint, Brown is coming off a torn ACL, he hasn't necessarily looked all that explosive in camp and now he has a thumb injury.

It's not the type of scenario that's going to convince a team to give the Dolphins a lot to get Brown, which is what Miami probably would require.

Now, we're not saying that just because Sparano says Brown is not getting traded that it means it's so, it just doesn't add up.

As for Horn, word is his agent contact the Dolphins, as well as a few other teams, on Tuesday after Horn was released by Atlanta.

Horn has some mileage on him and he's not the receiver he was during his Pro Bowl days in New Orleans, but he still would represent a good addition for a Dolphins receiving corps that is severely lacking.

The idea of Horn serving as a mentor also has been brought up, but Horn's reputation has been that of a selfish player, so we're thinking purely in terms of talent here. And the Dolphins need more of it at wide receiver.

As it stands now, it looks like Ted Ginn Jr. and Derek Hagan will be the starters, and right now that's not a combination that's going to keep defensive coordinators up at night. More than that, though, there is virtually no depth because the other wideouts on the roster are disappointing free agent Ernest Wilford and unproven youngsters David Kircus, Greg Camarillo, Anthony Armstrong, Davone Bess and Jayson Foster.

Atlanta is on the hook to Horn for $2.5 million in 2008, so it might not take that much to sign him. Horn has said he wants to play for a contender, but also likes the idea of playing for Miami because of the mentoring thing.

We also need to mention that Horn is from New Haven, Conn., which also happens to be Tony Sparano's hometown.

The other New Haven guy with the Dolphins is Donald Thomas, who is looking like he's going to start as a rookie. Maybe the Dolphins could have good luck again with another New Haven guy.

They really need the help at wide receiver, that's the bottom line.


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