Dolphins: Starks Says Not Starting is ‘Punishment'

Stark says skipping OTAs over summer - and not leg injury during training camp - is reason why he is not starting

The Miami Dolphins used the franchise tag on DT Randy Starks this offseason, so why is he not starting heading into the final preseason game of the summer?

According to Starks, this is his penance for sitting out voluntary offseason workouts to protest the team's decision not to offer him a long-term contract earlier this year.

"I'm not going to say nothing bad about it," Starks told the Sun Sentinel Monday. "It is what it is. I wasn't here so I guess this is my punishment."

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Starks signed a one-year deal worth $8.45 million after he was franchised by the Dolphins. He sat out Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in June, which are voluntary but are typically attended by almost every player under contract.

Though the official depth chart listed on the team website shows Starks as one of two starting defensive tackles along with Paul Soliai, Starks will actually come off the bench in a rotation with Soliai and Jared Odrick, according to the Sentinel.

To be fair, the rotation arrangement could have more to do with Starks' health than his absence from OTAs. He missed a significant chunk of training camp with a right leg injury, though he says his leg is "cool" now.

Despite the "punishment" characterization, Starks seems nonchalant to the idea of coming off the bench. "The year I was a backup [2008] I was one of the most dominant players on the defensive line," he said. "If that's the case I have the potential do it again."

Not that he needs the motivation. "I'm a 10-year veteran," he said. "All those things to make me fired up, I don't really need all that. Whatever role I'm called to do this year I'm going to do."

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