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Dolphins 2023 minicamp: Center Connor Williams unexcused absence from mandatory event

The Miami Dolphins will be without starting center Connor Williams during their mandatory minicamp.

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins opened the one mandatory training event during the 2023 offseason on Tuesday, beginning their minicamp. While every player is expected to attend the training session, it appears the Dolphins will be without their starting center from 2022 for the workouts. According to head coach Mike McDaniel, Connor Williams will not be in attendance for minicamp and he made clear the absence was unexcused.

Williams could be fined almost $100,000 if he skips all three days of minicamp. After joining the Dolphins in 2022 on a two-year contract, Williams is heading into the final year of his contract and could be skipping minicamp in hopes of getting a new deal this year. Williams, prior to joining Miami, played left guard for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the only player to play 100 percent of the offensive snaps for Miami last year, and he did it at a new position. Changing positions for the team, playing every snap of the season, and entering the final year of a contract could all be factors in Williams’ decision to stay away from the team this spring.

During the team’s voluntary offseason training program and organized team activities, Williams and defensive tackle Zach Sieler were both absent, but, speaking to the media ahead of Tuesday’s first practice, McDaniel confirmed Sieler had joined the team for minicamp. “We have pretty much, like most of the offseason, we’ve had pretty much everyone here,” McDaniel explained. “There’s been individuals that have their individual situations to take care of. As far as this camp, Sieler will be here, Connor Williams won’t.

McDaniel continued, explaining that he and Williams have been talking throughout the offseason, saying, “We’ve been in direct communication. I’m not going to get necessarily into the nuts and bolts of his business here. But I have 89 guys I would love to talk about that are here, that are going to be out here today.”

The coach, when asked, admitted it is not an excused absence for Williams, replying, “No, it’s not excused, but again, we’ve been in communication so not worried about it. Worried about the dudes that are here for sure.”

He continued, explaining how he balances the needs of the team with the individual players’ desires and needs, saying, “I try to understand every player’s perspective. I think that’s part of my job, is to be empathetic, to best come to a solution. So there’s a bunch of things that come up, a bunch of stuff that have come up this offseason that came up last offseason that will come up next offseason. So that’s always something that you’re juggling and working with players to have your team perform at its highest ability.”

The Dolphins and Williams will likely continue to work toward an agreement that gets their center back with the club. They have other players who also have needs that should be addressed, including Sieler and fellow defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, both of whom could see new contracts this summer. Now we just have to watch and wait to see how everything falls into place throughout the summer.