Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks raised a few eyebrows on Sunday when he appeared to flip the bird to the Dolphins sideline after recording a sack in the second half of Miami's 23-10 win against the Cleveland Browns.
On Tuesday, Starks said the obscene gesture was simply a joke with his teammates, and not directed at Dolphins coaches.
"It's something I shouldn't have done," he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "It's something I was joking around with my teammates. Whatever consequences happen, I have to take it."
It initially appeared as if he was making a statement to his coaches, who have him as a reserve on the depth chart despite the fact that the front office used the franchise tag to prevent him from leaving via free agency this summer. In August, Starks claimed that his backup status was "punishment" for his skipping of optional offseason workouts – something he did to protest the fact that the team franchised him instead of negotiating a multi-year contract.
But Starks says he is fine with his role on the team and his contract situation (or lack thereof). "I'm happy with my role ... so whatever it calls for the team to win, I'm willing to accept that," he said.
"The contract situation is in my hands now," he added. "It's go out there and perform, help the team win, and see what happens afterward."
Starks said he has spoken with Dolphins coaches about the incident, and he will not be fined for his actions. "I accept full responsibility for it and whatever consequences I have, I accept it," he said.
Starks recorded 3 tackles and 1.5 sacks against Cleveland on Sunday. He has averaged 4.4 sacks per season since he joined the Dolphins in 2008.