October 01, 2014

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) LaMichael James took the proactive approach with the Dolphins in order to get a chance at a fresh start in the NFL.

The former San Francisco 49ers running back called Miami this week looking for an opportunity - and it worked.

James practiced with his new team for the first time Wednesday after being signed to the practice squad and is focusing on learning a new offense in order to bolster his prospects of being added to the 53-man roster. His skills as a kick returner will likely give him his best shot, as he found a rather dried up market following the release he asked for from San Francisco.

''I've always got a chip on my shoulder, always,'' said James, who was a second-round pick of the 49ers in 2012 out of Oregon. ''I don't feel like I've got nothing to prove. I'm just going to go out there and work hard.''

Miami (2-2) has a bye this weekend and is coming off a convincing 38-14 win over the Oakland Raiders in London. The Green Bay Packers are up next at Sun Life Stadium on October 12th, and James is hoping to be in position to make an impact in that game.

The Dolphins actually brought James in for a workout two weeks ago after veteran running back Knowshon Moreno suffered an elbow injury but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement, as he chose to seek out other options. When none came about, he took matters into his own hands.

''I kept in contact and I could have just stayed then but I wanted to come in here and be ready to earn my spot,'' James said. ''I actually called them and told them I was ready. I'm all in and the GM (Dennis Hickey), he's an outstanding guy and was really positive with me and told me the door was open. I think I belong in this league. I think I can help this team win and I can make plays.''

Last season was James' most productive in San Francisco, specifically in the return game where he ran back 23 punts for 251 yards and 12 kickoffs for 321 yards in 10 games. As a rookie, he had 14 kick returns for 417 yards and carried the ball 27 times for 125 yards.

''He's got a lot of skill. He's a talented guy,'' Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. ''He's got good ball skills and he's got speed and we want to have a chance to work with him for a little bit and see what comes of it. We like his athleticism, his playmaking ability, he's got hands and he can run. So we'll take a look at him.''

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