The Miami Dolphins signed safety T.J. McDonald to a four-year, $24-million contract extension this past summer, despite the free agent acquisition facing an eight-game suspension to start the 2017 season and not having played a regular season snap for the South Florida franchise. He had impressed the coaching staff with his skills and work ethic, with the team looking past the eight-game suspension for a 2016 DUI charge. Now a report from TMZ seems to indicate McDonald could be in lelag trouble again, with the safety “wayyy behind on his community service and didn’t complete his alcohol program.”
Except, according to the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley, that is not the whole story.
Beasley explains, “McDonald asked for and received an extension from the court to fulfill the terms of probation, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. As long as he fulfills his obligations this offseason, he should be in the clear.”
TMZ’s report indicates that the court has revoked McDonald’s probation and he will have to appear in March before a judge, who could sentence him to jail for the failure. Beasley’s report agrees there is an appearance scheduled for March, but that McDonald has until then to complete his service and program requirements. He is not in violation, but he is facing the deadline for its completion.
McDonald’s contract does allow the Dolphins to void the guarantees included in it if the safety is sent back to jail, with Beasley quoting the specific clause in the contract, which says McDonald would be in default if he “is incarcerated resulting in the player’s failure or refusal to report, practice or play with the club.”
At this point, it appears McDonald just needs to resume his community service and alcohol related programs, with them being completed by March, to avoid being sent to jail.