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The Miami Dolphins placed LT Jake Long on injured reserve Tuesday evening because of a left triceps injury, ending his season and perhaps his tenure with the team.
The former number one overall pick in the 2008 draft injured his triceps in Sunday's loss to New England. Long can become an unrestricted free agent this winter, if the team decides not to place the franchise tag on Long this offseason.
Rookie RT Jonathan Martin shifted to the left side to replace Long on Sunday. He will make his first start at LT Sunday at San Francisco. He played the position almost exclusively at Stanford, making all but 2 starts at LT.
Nate Garner will fill in for Martin at right tackle. He has nine starts in his five-year career. The Dolphins signed tackle Patrick Brown to take Long's roster spot. He played in 15 games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
Though Long made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons, and likely would have been selected for the Pro Bowl this season, his play has declined this season, making it less likely that the Dolphins will want to pay the $15.4 million franchise tag price for him next season.
Long has gave up four sacks and nine quarterback hurries this season. Against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9, Long looked especially overmatched against perennial Pro Bowl DE Dwight Freeney, who was credited with a sack and a forced fumble.
According to the Miami Herald, advanced statistics website Pro Football Focus ranked Long the second best tackle in 2009 and 2010, but his ranking had slipped to 21 last season and 47 this season. The Herald also reported that the Dolphins have not yet ruled out using the franchise tag on Long, however.
"Jake will be very missed,” Dolphins WR Brian Hartline told the Herald. "He's one of our leaders, a staple on our offensive line."
On Tuesday Miami also signed safety Tyrone Culver and waived defensive back Anderson Russell.