Jimmy Johnson says he's no in hurry for Dimitrius Underwood to join the Miami Dolphins. The rookie defensive end, waived by Minnesota after he saying he preferred a religious calling to football, is willing to meet with Johnson but is in no hurry to play.
"If any of the 31 teams need an evangelist, we can start negotiating now," Underwood told the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, adding that he was willing to go to Miami to talk to Johnson "out of respect to him.".
Underwood, the 29th overall pick in last April's NFL draft, was claimed Monday off waivers by the Dolphins. Johnson talked with him for the first time Tuesday and predicted the rookie will eventually join the Dolphins.
"He's going to play, but he wants to take some time to get in shape and get mentally ready," Johnson said in San Diego, where the Dolphins are preparing for an exhibition game. "To be honest, we'd prefer he just sit out this year and come in fresh and hungry next year."
Underwood was the Vikings' second first-round draft pick, but left training camp after just one practice to pursue his faith, and the team released him. He walked out on a five-year, $5.3 million contract, sacrificing nearly all of his $1.75 million signing bonus.
If Underwood plays for the Dolphins this year, they'll owe him no signing bonus and a base salary of just $395,000.
"I'm an all-or-nothing guy," Underwood said Wednesday. "People can read into it. If I didn't take $5 million, why would I take $395,000? ..."
"God says you can take all the money in the world to hell. You're sitting in hell counting your money, what good is that going to do?"
The Dolphins say they plan to retain rights to Underwood for the length of his five-year contract. Johnson can afford to be patient with the rookie because the Dolphins have five veterans at defensive end.
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