In the wake of Sammy Morris' four-game suspension for violating the NFL's steroid policy, the Dolphins spent Friday shopping for a running back.
Free agent Antowain Smith?
Carolina's Eric Shelton?
Denver's Ron Dayne?
Pittsburgh's Duce Staley or Cedric Humes?
They all might be available today when teams trim their rosters to the NFL limit of 53 players. The Dolphins contacted each of those players' teams, and about a dozen others, during the past week about possibly trading a low-round draft pick for a running back.
Miami was more likely to wait for one of those players to be cut before showing further interest.
One candidate the Dolphins are forgetting about is Stephen Davis, who signed with St. Louis. Miami showed only mild interest in Davis last week even though coach Nick Saban already knew Morris would be suspended.
Another player the Dolphins would have interest in, Chris Brown of the Tennessee Titans, also is unlikely to become available. Brown started the preseason finale against Green Bay on Friday afternoon.
Agent Wynn Silbermann, who represents Brown, declined to talk about Brown possibly being traded to the Dolphins because despite hopes of getting his client to Miami, he has not been given permission to discuss a trade with any other team.
So that leaves the Dolphins searching.
''Obviously at this time of the year teams have various needs whether they're created by injuries or whatever circumstance might create them,'' Saban said. ``Some teams have different needs than others.
``Some of your strengths can satisfy another team and they may have something that can satisfy your team in terms of some circumstance or situation that may come up when we might need to improve the depth at a certain position.''
The irony of Miami's current situation is two-fold. First, the club might be looking for backup running back help even if Morris hadn't been suspended for testing positive for ephedrine.
Morris sprained a foot in Thursday's preseason finale against St. Louis and wouldn't be available to play for some time anyway.
''He strained his foot or something,'' said linebacker Channing Crowder, whose locker is next to Morris' at the team's training complex. 'I saw him today. I was like, `You've got four weeks to recover so don't worry about it.' Just kind of laugh it off.''
But the greater irony is that while some players were unaware Morris is facing a suspension, other players such as players' union representative Kevin Carter were aware and the club clearly knew during the offseason.
Despite this knowledge, Miami could not find a suitable backup to Ronnie Brown.
''We're going to evaluate all those situations, but as it happens, we'll see if there's anybody that can improve our team,'' Saban said. ``If something comes up that makes sense, we'll certainly be interested in doing it.''
The Dolphins' interest might be tempered by the fact Morris will be available for 12 games -- much the same way Ricky Williams was last season when he gained 743 yards. The availability of younger players such as Kay-Jay Harris and Gerald Riggs Jr. also might serve as comfort because Saban seemed pleased with both Friday.
''We're disappointed about [Morris] not being here,'' Harris said. ``But it is what it is and we've got to hold it down until he gets back.
``I'm prepared to do whatever I can to be on the team. Ronnie Brown is the man. Whatever my role is being behind him, I'm absolutely fine with it. Two, three, four. My goal is to be on the sideline on Sunday, doing anything I can do.''
Morris' absence might force Miami to keep players it ordinarily might have cut -- possibly assuring Harris, Travis Minor and Riggs will be on the roster for a time.
Saban was pleased with Riggs even though the rookie made several mistakes in extended playing time Thursday against St. Louis.
''He did a nice job in the game, ran the ball fairly well behind his pads,'' Saban said. ``He cut off the wrong foot a couple of times and slipped, probably getting in a little bit of a hurry. It's an experience thing. He also carried the ball in the wrong hand once and fumbled. But he made a couple of nice catches and he made some outstanding runs.
``I think it was his time last night to show what we could do. That was the plan going into the game, and I think he did a pretty good job.''
Morris' suspension has had one positive effect on the Dolphins. Players are being more careful what they put in their bodies because Morris tested positive, his attorney said, after taking Sudafed.
''You never know if you take one thing and then something else and they're [both] legal, then they interact and cause them to be illegal,'' Brown said. ``Pretty much the whole time, everybody's paranoid to a certain extent. For the most part, we're all in the same boat and know what to expect.
``Unfortunately, this situation did happen and we really don't know what happened with it. He was sick and he did take Sudafed. I can vouch for that. But you never know with these situations. You have to watch what you put in your body.''