Roth Returning?

The mysterious cloud hovering over outside linebacker Matt Roth might soon be lifted if the Dolphins allow him to practice next week when he's eligible to come off of the reserve/non-football injury list on Tuesday.

Roth has mostly been out of sight and out of mind since it was determined that he was unable to participate in practices since mid-June with an apparent continuation of a chronically sore groin, which he has had surgically repaired.

Roth said his groin has healed, but with the Dolphins boasting the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense, along with the presence of outside linebackers Cameron Wake, Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses, it's not known how much the team's decision makers want him back. Roth is in the last year of his contract and it's no secret that he and his agent Drew Rosenhaus wanted the Dolphins to grant him a contract extension. That's highly unlikely especially after watching Wake notch 2.5 sacks in the Bills game.

Roth, who just turned 27, moved from defensive end to strongside 'backer last year. He has always been solid in run support, and last year was second on the team with a career-high five sacks to go with 53 tackles.

Once Roth returns to practice, the Dolphins have a 21-day window to decide whether to put him on the 53-man roster or back on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Coach Tony Sparano said Thursday that technically Roth could play in the next game against the Saints. So it's possible the Dolphins could wait the three weeks to cover themselves against injuries and then activate Roth in time for Game 10 against the Panthers. That makes sense because outside linebackers Joey Porter (hamstring) and Jason Taylor (shoulder) are playing with nagging injuries and are over 30. Also, middle linebacker Channing Crowder has a sore ankle.

"Well, we will see," Sparano said. "I would say we would want to get him out there, get him going and take a look at him. The guy has done a lot of good work right now. So we will see. We just don't know when he would play from there."

Roth is itching to go and said he "will be ready to knock some heads off."

Before this year Roth had only missed three games in four seasons (groin injury in 2007).


-- WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. might become the primary kickoff returner with Patrick Cobbs lost for the season. Ginn was excellent in the return game at Ohio State but hasn't made a big impact in the NFL as a return man.

-- RB/RS Kory Sheets, who was signed off the 49ers' practice squad a day after Cobbs went down, has been auditioning for the kickoff return role. He returned kicks at Purdue but only averaged 21.2 yards.

-- OLBs Joey Porter (hamstring) and Channing Crowder (ankle) didn't practice all week to rest up so that they'll be good to go against the Saints on Oct. 25.

-- OLBs Cameron Wake, Jason Taylor and Porter were on the field together for 10 snaps Monday night in an effort to bolster the pass rush. Although they didn't get to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Sparano believes that grouping has tremendous potential.

-- Coach Tony Sparano changed his mind about having a practice on Friday, instead deciding to give his players the entire weekend off. The Dolphins will be back at practice on Monday.

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