Dolphins Notebook: Fuller Fired Up, Jackson Talks COVID, Tua's Birthday Wishes, and More

Tackle Austin Jackson returned to practice Wednesday after being away from the team for more than a week
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Austin Jackson was back at practice Wednesday for the first time since he landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 on Sept. 6 and two days after head coach Brian Flores said he remained the team's starting left tackle.

Jackson declined to offer details about his week away from the team, either in terms of his COVID experience or how he got himself ready to be in the lineup for Week 1 against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium (even though he ended up playing only in the kicking game).

The 2020 first-round pick did say, however, that being vaccinated helped him with his situation, while mentioning that he had several family members who were "heavily affected" by COVID-19.

Jackson said it was interesting to travel for an away game separate from his teammates, calling it a first-team experience.

As for Flores' comments about Jackson remaining the team's starter at left tackle, which came in the aftermath of rookie second-round pick Liam Eichenberg having a solid outing against New England, Jackson said it was good to hear but didn't really dwell on it too much because he still has work to do.

As for his first practice, this is what Jackson said: “I forgot how hot it is in South Florida (laughter), especially during football practice with pads on. But it felt great to be back out there with the team, doing my job. I’m looking forward to getting after Buffalo.”

FULLER FIRED UP

Wide receiver Will Fuller V also was back at practice Wednesday after being away for a week, the result of being placed on the NFL's Suspended by Commissioner to finish serving out a suspension he was handed out last year while he was with the Houston Texans.

As one would expect, Fuller is excited about making his Dolphins debut Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium.

"I haven’t played in a while," said Fuller, who missed the final five games of the 2020 season because of the suspension for violating the league policy regarding performance-enhancing substances. "I haven’t been able to practice, so just being back out there catching some balls from Tua in live practice was good. It was good to be back out there. It felt good.”

TUA THROWS OUT WISHES

As most Dolphins fans probably are aware, Sept. 15 is the birthday of the greatest player in franchise history, but when the fact was pointed out to Tua Tagovailoa at the beginning of his weekly media session, he made it a point it wasn't all about Dan Marino on this day.

Tua was quick to point out that it also was the birthday of starting right tackle Jesse Davis, who turned 30 (exactly half Marino's age).

Back to Marino, Tua was asked about his working relationship with the now special advisor to the vice chairman, president and CEO (Tom Garfinkel) and specifically about the best piece of advice he got from him.

“Pick a guy and let it fly.”

Tua also confirmed he has spoken with former teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick since the former Dolphins quarterback sustained a hip injury in Washington's season opener that landed him on injured reserve.

SHAHEEN RETURNS

The Dolphins activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list tight end Adam Shaheen, who went on it at the same time as Jackson at the start of Week 1.

Shaheen, of course, made news in training camp with his stance against vaccination.

His return gives the Dolphins five tight ends on the active roster. The others are Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Cethan Carter and rookie third-round pick Hunter Long.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

-- Former Dolphins guard Danny Isidora signed with the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.

-- The Falcons also signed nose tackle Mike Pennel to their practice squad. Pennel was one of the veterans we mentioned as an outside possibility for the Dolphins if they go looking for interior defensive line help in light of Raekwon Davis being placed on injured reserve.

-- Former Dolphins defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, a sixth-round pick for Miami in 2017, was placed on injured reserve by the Houston Texans because of an ankle injury that's expected to keep him out of action approximately six weeks.