Vince Bigel took a detour to return to the active Miami Dolphins this week ahead of Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers.
Having missed the entire 2020 season with a torn Achilles, the outside midfielder, who made a significant contribution in 2019, suffered a calf injury in training camp. In early September, he was released due to injury, which allowed him to join another team.
But Bigel signed up for a spot on the Dolphins’ training team again in October and has been activated for two games this season. With fellow midfielder Brennan Scarlett in the injured reserve following Sunday’s win against the New York Jets, Bigel was the obvious choice to replace him on the 53-man roster.
“I think playing football is a journey, and sometimes the gift is a struggle,” Bigel said Wednesday. “It was a real journey this year, and I would not want it to be any different. I’m just grateful to come back with such a great organization as the Dolphins and to help this team come out and win the ball games. ”
Bigel was originally placed on the injury reserve in August, which would have ended his season before he started if he had stayed in IR with the Dolphins, but a pre-season injury compensation release allowed him to return as soon as he was ready. … The only problem was that he could sign a contract with another team.
Bigel attracted interest from other teams, but he always had the idea to return to Dolphins. When he returned and found all the same equipment in his locker as he had left it, he was convinced that the team had never actually removed it.
“I have a great relationship with [coach Brian Flores] and a great relationship with this team – to be honest, it’s not just talk, ”said Bigel. “I really wanted to come back here and I really like this team. My family loves it here in Miami.
“I’m just happy to come back, get over my injuries and finally be able to go out and play football again and be able to help this team win and be able to play with guys like [Andrew] Van Ginkel, Jelen Phillips and the opportunity to show energy in defense, in special teams and as a team. ”
Bigel said he has fully recovered from a 2020 pre-season calf injury and ruptured Achilles tendon.
“Both are 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’ve been running here for the past six weeks and bringing weight to the special teams, adding weight to the scout team’s defense.”
Bigel started 10 of 15 games for Miami in 2019 after he was acquired from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for former midfielder Kiko Alonso. He has 59 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, 13 quarterback hits and one interception this year, Flores’ first ever with the Dolphins.
“It’s the same system, right?” Bigel said. “This is not much different from what it was in 2019, so there are many parallels, a lot in common. This is still the defense of the Miami Dolphins. ”
The Dolphins used a maximum of two occasions where a training squad player could be promoted to a day squad without signing on to a 53-man roster (October 31 v. The Bills, Nov. 7 v. Texans). He did not play for Buffalo and saw three special teams play against the Texans.
In addition to bringing full-backs Xavien Howard and Byron Jones back to full engagement after the veterans’ rest day on Wednesday, one of the major changes in the Dolphins injury report on Thursday was that full-back Trill Williams (hamstring) was downgraded from a limited before non-participation.
Dolphin tide end Adam Shaheen and defender Elijah Campbell continued to be out of competition Thursday after skipping Wednesday’s training.
Seyftis Jevon Holland (knee / ankle) and Brandon Jones (ankle / elbow), midfielder Elandon Roberts (thigh), tackle defender Christian Wilkins (quads) and corner-back Trill Williams (hamstring) remained tight on Thursday.
Midfielder Jerome Baker (knee), defender Robert Jones (wrist), defender Eric Rowe (thigh) and wide receiver Preston Williams (knee) were still on the list.
The Panthers forced defender John Miller (ankle) to go from restricted to a missed Thursday session. Defensive grip DaQuan Jones (knee), defender Myles Hartsfield (wrist) and defender Dennis Daly (buttock) were full participants.