The seven-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker was placed on injured
reserve against his wishes Tuesday, meaning he'll miss the rest of
the season. He has been sidelined the past five games because of
"I'm disappointed with the decision," Thomas said in a
statement released by the Dolphins. "I expected to come back this
season, and still think I can. However, I respect the team's
decision and look forward to playing next year."
The Dolphins, who take an 0-12 record into Sunday game at
Buffalo, decided they could no longer afford to have a spot on the
roster taken up by an idle player.
The 34-year-old Thomas has had issues with concussions and
migraines in recent years, but he has said he expects to return for
a 13th season with Miami in 2008.
The Dolphins signed linebacker Kelvin Smith and offensive tackle
Julius Wilson off their practice squad. They placed safety
Cameron Worrell on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in Sunday's
40-13 loss to the New York Jets, and they waived receiver
Thomas missed two games in September with a concussion. He was
involved in a car crash following a loss to the New England
Patriots on Oct. 21 and has been sidelined since, unable to receive
medical clearance to play.
He had hoped to return soon, perhaps even Sunday, his agent
"He is getting closer, but I guess the progress was not enough
for the team," agent Drew Rosenhaus said. "I don't think there's
any doubt that at some points this year he would come back and
play, and the doctors feel that way, too. But the Dolphins didn't
have the luxury of waiting for that to happen.
"We have no doubt Zach will be back next year, and this issue
will be behind him."
Channing Crowder has been starting for Thomas, moving to middle
linebacker from outside linebacker. The Dolphins rank third-worst
in the NFL in points allowed.