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Miami Dolphins sign McDonald


By Alex McCarthy



Last Saturday, former IU left tackle Andrew McDonald was invited to rookie camps for two National Football League teams — the Miami Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers.

??It turns out that he didn’t even need to go to the second camp to get signed.

McDonald’s agent Josh Marks called him at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to inform him of Miami’s interest after a weekend with four practices in Miami and multiple meetings.

??He said prior to receiving the call, he didn’t realize how much the situation was affecting him.

??“It was a big relief,” McDonald said. “I felt like I was pretty calm and collected throughout the process, but when I finally got called this morning, I realized that I was almost just holding my breath the entire time. I just got a big weight off my shoulders.”??

McDonald left for Miami’s camp May 3 and said he didn’t have the opportunity to get out much in Miami between meetings, practices and team meals. He did, however, get the chance to impress the Dolphins’ coaches on the field.??

“They liked what they saw,” McDonald said. “I went down there for camp and had enough raw power and ability so they could make a wise investment.”??

McDonald said he meshed well with Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner and Head Coach Joe Philbin. McDonald also said the weather was welcoming.??

“It was crazy seeing palm trees right next to the field,” McDonald said. “It was really nice. It was really hot, too, but they took care of us. It’s something I’ll have to get used to, but I’d rather be warm than freezing.”??

He doesn’t have to deal with the freezing weather for now, as Marks called the Packers on Tuesday to inform them of McDonald’s offer. McDonald heads back to practice near the palm trees of Miami on Sunday to take part in the Dolphins’ camp that ends June 22.??

If he were to make the roster, he would join former Hoosier running back Marcus Thigpen, who graduated from IU in 2008. Thigpen was the first IU player to compile 1,000 of each receiving, rushing and return yardage.??

McDonald isn’t the only recent IU player to have a shot at making an NFL roster. Graduated linebacker Jeff Thomas will attend a rookie camp with the Buffalo Bills May 11-13.??

The 310-pound tackle is the third IU tackle in as many years to sign with an NFL team. In 2010, the St. Louis Rams selected Roger Saffold, and in 2011, James Brewer went to the New York Giants.??

McDonald, who graduated with a general studies degree in December, started all 12 games this past season at left tackle. He helped the team rush for 1,374 yards in Big Ten Conference play, the program’s highest total since 2001, and helped running backs post five games with more than 200 rushing yards.??

McDonald said although he is about to get signed — the Dolphins are still drawing up the details of his contract — there is still quite a bit standing between him and playing on Sundays.??

“I still have to earn a spot, pretty much,” McDonald said. “We’ve still got to do practice. I might get cut and get put on the practice squad, something like that. Nothing is really guaranteed.”

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