DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Idled by a stalemate in contract negotiations, Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye can only wonder where he'll be come
September. Still on the sideline? Back in uniform with the Miami Dolphins? Traded to another team? Nigeria?
The unsigned Ogunleye said Wednesday his preference remains to reach a deal in Miami, where he blossomed into a star during the past four seasons. His
agent planned to present another proposal to the Dolphins this week.
But if Miami refuses to give Ogunleye the contract he wants, he said he'll continue to sit out and perhaps return to his roots by visiting his
grandmother and other relatives in Africa.
"My mom wants me to do that," said Ogunleye, whose grandfather was a Nigerian king. "We'll probably wait until after the first game, and then we'll
probably take 10 days or two weeks to go."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Ogunleye made his only visit to Nigeria when he was 13. There probably won't be time for a trip this fall, because both sides
remain optimistic an agreement will be reached. But it needs to happen soon if Ogunleye is to be at full speed for the first game Sept. 12.
"I'm in great physical shape," he said. "The shape I'm going to need is banging my head into offensive linemen. That would probably take me a week and
a half of physical abuse."
Ogunleye was paid a base salary of $375,000 last year, when led the AFC with 15 sacks and made the Pro Bowl for the first time. During the offseason
he declined to sign the one-year, $1.824 million tender the Dolphins extended to him, and negotiations on a long-term deal reached a standstill in
The latest proposals haven't been revealed, but Ogunleye - mindful of a college knee injury that probably cost him millions - wants more guaranteed
money than the Dolphins have offered.
"No way I'm going to put myself in a situation where I jeopardize my future," he said.
Ogunleye reiterated he's willing to sit out the first 10 games, then make himself available for the final six games so he can become a free agent
after the season.
Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman declined to comment.
"We're only going to talk about players who are here getting ready for the start of the season," Spielman said.
The Dolphins' desperate need for offense has fueled speculation that they'll trade Ogunleye, with the latest rumors sending him to the Cleveland
Browns for one of two receivers, Quincy Morgan or Andre Davis.
Ogunleye shrugged off the prospect of a trade.
"Change is inevitable," he said. "My parents grew up in Nigeria and came here, where they didn't know anybody. That stuff happens. It's not the end of
the world. ...
"The deal is going to get done sooner or later - if not with Miami, then with another team."