Dolphins cut injured Feely, a year after he set team record
Feely was coming off one of his best seasons, which made his release a surprise. He made 21 of 23 field goals last season, setting a team single-season record for field goal percentage, and was one of the few bright spots on last year's 1-15 team.
Feely disclosed in an interview with ESPN.com's Tim Graham that he knew this was coming, saying that offseason meetings with Parcells and new head coach Tony Sparano were edgy.
"I definitely never felt wanted there," Feely said. "I knew if young guys did well it was inevitable. They're looking to get younger and cheaper."
Graham: Feely Saw It Coming
Jay Feely found that it was his mouth, not his foot, that rubbed Dolphins management the wrong way, Tim Graham writes. Blog
His release opens the door for rookie Dan Carpenter of Montana, a 6-2, 220-pounder who signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. Carpenter made field goals of 41 and 49 yards in Miami's 17-6 preseason loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.
"The decision was based purely on numbers, on performance and Carpenter has outperformed him right now. That's the bottom line," Sparano said Tuesday after the team's morning practice. "We chart a ton of categories with the kickers and Carpenter has outperformed him."
Carpenter converted 75 of 103 field goals, and 182 of 188 extra points during his college career in Montana. He said he doesn't think he will have a problem adjusting to the warm weather in Miami. However, he was stunned to hear of Feely's release.
"Of course it was a shock," Carpenter said. "I'm a rookie coming in and Jay's a great kicker and he's got a lot of experience and I'm just here to do my best and hopefully that's the best."
His accuracy has improved in each of the past three seasons. He made 83.3 percent of his field goals for the Giants in 2005; 85.2 percent for the Giants in 2006; and 91.3 for the Dolphins last year.
"You want to be respected when you feel like you've earned that, when you try every day to do the right things," Feely said. "I never got in trouble. I love my family, love my teammates.
"When you try to make all the right decisions and perform well, you want the coaches to reflect that in the way they treat you. That obviously wasn't the case."
Feely has been sidelined with a strained hip flexor that forced him to sit out practice last week and miss the preseason opener. He signed a three-year, $4.6 million contract to join the Dolphins in 2007. As an 80.8 percent career kicker, Feely shouldn't have too much trouble finding a new job.
"A kicker's situation is different than a quarterback situation or any other situation," Sparano said. "You get very few at-bats."
Several teams already have contacted Feely, who declined to name them, but he anticipated having six or seven potential employers from which to choose.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Tim Graham and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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