Mike Pouncey refuses to address "Free Hernandez" hat

Miami Dolphins opened up Training Camp today in front of a full house of 2,700 reinvigorated fans, buoyed by a hectic and exciting off-season.

All parties were present and correct with the only notable blemish being 3rd overall selection Dion Jordan, fresh off signing his shiny new 4 year rookie deal. Jordan was in attendance but sat out the on-field work as he finishes his recovery from shoulder surgery earlier this year, but this was largely expected.

There was however one small cloud that hung over todays otherwise upbeat return to Miami Dolphins football.

Mike Pouncey, unsurprisingly, was questioned about his thought process when he and his brother Maurkice donned caps with “Free Hernandez” emblazoned on the front at a recent birthday celebration at a nightclub in Miami.

It came as no surprise to most that Mike was unwilling to dwell on the matter, stating “I’m here to discuss football". It raised eyebrows, given that his brother recently released a statement offering an apology to those offended, that he refused to address it at all before requesting the line of questioning be changed.

In the grand scheme of things, in an off-season dominated by far more serious indiscretions by fellow pro footballers, “Hat Gate”  falls into the category of SILLY more than anything else.

Silly or not, it was most certainly an ill advised move for a perceived team leader, bringing unnecessary negative attention to a team riding on a wave of good feeling amongst fans right now. Perhaps a scripted apology, disingenuous or not, would have put the whole incident in the rear view mirror where it belongs.

Joe Philbin made it clear from the first day he arrived in South Florida, that all players would be held accountable and that they must represent the organization in a professional manner befitting. This Code of Conduct  was clearly fresh in Mike Pouncey’s mind today when asked by South Florida media how he felt about his personal life being up for debate, “We get paid a lot of money to act a certain way, and that’s the way we should be acting.”

Are we to take those comments as a thinly veiled admission of regret on Number 51’s part, or perhaps another way of circumnavigating the subject? Either way, it is unlikely this is the last we have heard of the topic until Mike is willing to give it some closure….or perhaps until some meaningful football distracts us all.