Rarely do we get more than one chance to make a first impression. Dimitrius Underwood has had roughly half a dozen.
He showed up at Minnesota Vikings camp in Army fatigues, saying he was "ready to go to war." Little did we know that his getup would serve as the perfect camouflage for him to steal away from camp after only one practice.
Days later, Underwood popped up saying he wanted to play football. Then he flip-flopped again saying he had a higher calling to join the ministry.
But the higher power was put on call waiting and Underwood was certain he wanted to be a Viking.
After meeting with Reggie White and Vikes WR Cris Carter, Underwood decided he could mix religion and sport and gave football a try once more.
That same night, he was explaining to Minnesota brass why he didn't want to be a football player and in the process talked himself out of a $5.3 million contract, including a $1.75 million signing bonus. The Vikings cut their losses and Underwood on Aug. 11.
Five days later Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson decided he wanted to play the NFL's version of Where's Waldo?
Miami claimed the 6-foot-6, 275-pound defensive end off waivers and signed him to an incentive-laden, one-year contract worth $390,000.
Underwood met with J.J. for the first time last week and both agreed he would practice Monday.
Monday came and went. No Dimitrius.
According to Underwood, he had "some loose ends to tie up" in Michigan and needed an extra day to get everything straightened out.
Underwood has done more about-faces than the U.S. Marine Corps.
But this time, he says it's different. He's... get this, committed.
What he needs to be is committed.
He claims it's his religious conviction that led to his bizarre behavior. A better term would be contradiction.
He says he's born again and ready to concentrate on football and football only. But before his first practice as a Dolphin, Underwood addressed the media and said he was happy to be in Miami because of the ... beautiful women.
Glad to see he has his religious priorities in order.
How about apologizing to the Minnesota Vikings, who are seeing their second first-round pick wind up in Miami free of charge?
|Dimitrius Underwood is winded after running laps folloing Tuesday's practice.(AP)|
How about thanking J.J. for begging you to take a $390,000 paycheck -- even though he knows you'll contribute little, if any, this season?
Thing is, Miami doesn't need Underwood. The Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the league without him. Now, a defensive lineman who was certain to make the team will wind up on the cutting block because of Underwood's arrival.
And J.J., who's made a career out of trying to "save" players, thinks he's hit the jackpot by getting this first-round pick for free-agent pickings.
What he has done is wind up with a crackpot.
One minute Underwood says and does all the right things. The next, Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hide-and-go-seek. He's an enigma. An enigma that's not worth the trouble. He's walked out on a team before, which much more at stake, and likely will do it again.
But J.J., blinded by Underwood's talent, sees him as a piece in the puzzle, rather than simply puzzled.
Underwood is a nuisance. He can't be counted on. He's a master illusionist who's disillusioned.
How can the Dolphins go to war on Sundays with a guy who's mentally -- and often times physically -- AWOL?
Army fatigues and all.
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