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Earl Mitchell could return from Injured Reserve against Chargers

The Dolphins could pick up some important defensive tackle depth this week with Mitchell’s return.

NFL: Preseason-Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on injured reserve after the team’s Week 1 contest against the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which Mitchell re-injured his calf, an injury that had cost him most of training camp and the preseason. As Miami prepares to head to Southern California for a Week 10 meeting against the San Diego Chargers, they could be looking to bring back Mitchell, using the league-rules authorized one move to bring a player back the same season after having placed him ion IR.

Mitchell appears to be on track to be available for the game - Miami has not officially made the roster move to bring him back to the 53-man roster yet - and that would make Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh happy. “Earl is a great player and I think he’s obviously a starter, has a quality to be a starter, and playing at an elite level,” Suh said of the seventh-year pro. “As many d-linemen that we can have that are interchangeable that can play on all levels, which Earl can do, would be great.”

Mitchell joined the Dolphins in 2014 after four years with the Houston Texans. He appeared n all 16 games in that first year with Miami, recording four starts, then started all 12 games in which he played in 2015. He has a career total of 190 tackles, 5.5 sacks, five passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

“He’s got great get offs, got great hands and obviously he finds a way to make plays,” Suh continued when asked about Mitchell’s strength. “It’s what we’re tasked to do – get out there, create havoc and make plays and allow our linebackers to come downhill easy.”

“It helps because Earl’s a really good player also,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said of how Mitchell’s return could help and if Jordan Phillips would see fewer snaps with Mitchell active. “And it helps Jordan play less snaps, but Earl’s a really, really, good player. I was with him in Houston (Texans). He brings energy. He’s going to be in the right fit all the time. He’s tough on double teams. He’s going to bring an element of consistency, of hard playing, and obviously resting Suh and resting Jordan helps. That’s like getting a really good player back. It helps in the overall defensive scheme. It helps having him back.”

The Dolphins do not have to activate Mitchell until later in the week to make him available for Sunday. They will kickoff against the Chargers at 4:05pm ET Sunday afternoon.