Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wheeler adapting to new environment one more time


This time last year, linebacker Philip Wheeler was adjusting to a brand new environment, not unlike any other free agent in transition.

This week, Wheeler's back to square one. (photo: Jeffrey Beall)

The veteran defender, who spent last season with the Oakland Raiders following a four-year stint with the Indianapolis Colts, is beginning his efforts to etch a role in the Miami Dolphins' newly-revamped 'backer corps.

Miami signed Wheeler to a five-year deal on the first day of free agency in March.

“It’s tough but I’m getting used to it because I had to do it last year,” Wheeler said, via MiamiDolphins.com. “I had to go all the way to Oakland from Indianapolis and it was the same thing – a new team, new coaches and new everything. So I’m having to do it again.

"I think I did pretty well and hopefully I can try to do the same thing if not do better.”

The 28-year-old Wheeler tallied 78 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles last year. He's getting his first opportunity to make an impression this week as the team begins its voluntary workout sessions.

Just hours before the Dolphins inked Wheeler, they agreed to terms with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and released veteran Karlos Dansby. Miami clearly had a vivid plan in place  regarding its linebacker situation, and Wheeler was obviously a big part of that.

"I haven’t even met a lot of the team," he said prior to Monday's workouts. "I’ve only met a few players and they seem pretty cool and I just hope they accept me. I just want to be accepted by the team.”

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