Pennington to South Florida: Let's Not Make This Awkward

With Chad Pennington facing what could very well be career-ending surgery tomorrow from sports surgeon extraordinaire, Birmingham-based Dr. James Andrews, he had some thoughts for the media on what he's going through, where he goes from here, the hit that separated his shoulder, and his time so far in South Florida. This season is the third of Pennington's career to end early with an injury to his shoulder. Because of his age (33) and history, many experts are saying this is the end of the road for the two-time NFL Comeback Player of the Year - last year's MVP runner-up.

The Dolphins provided excerpts from yesterday's press conference.

"For the first 48 hours you are kind of numb to the situation," Pennington told reporters. "You are in shock and it just doesn't seem real. Starting today, the numbness wears off and I have a lot of emotions running through my head right now and trying to sift through all of these thoughts and emotions and trying to really simplify the process for myself in what I need to do from here and where I need to go."

He said he plans to have a plan soon: "I think you guys know how competitive I am and how driven I am so I am going to map out a plan and take it one step at a time. The plan will probably change throughout the time and I will take different roads here and there, but I will definitely have a plan from here on out."

The QB said he never expected to get another injury like he's had in the past. He said he "felt like I paid my dues to the football Gods, but that's not the case (laughing) and that's okay because that's part of the game." He added, "I don't think any of us quarterbacks are a 100% beyond any problems because every time we go to throw a football, we are totally exposed unless you are looking at the rush, you can't avoid any of those hits and if you are looking at the rush, you probably need to reevaluate yourself as a quarterback. You can't do that. You need to step in there and make throws under duress and be totally oblivious."

He was asked which part of the play caused his injury. "I think the initial hit. Just being exposed. Anytime you go to throw the football, your muscles relax so you can make the appropriate throw. You don't tense up so you relax. As I am relaxing to throw and muscles are relaxed to make the throw and you have a full force coming at you at a 100%...something's got to give and unfortunately my body had to give."

On whether this is the end in Miami, Pennington said, "I'm certainly not going to close the book. People have tried to close the book on me before and I have kept it open. That would be doing a disservice to myself...South Florida has been unbelievable to me. Our family has really enjoyed South Florida and Dol-Fans and the experience we have had here. The Miami Dolphins organization has been unbelievable and my teammates have been unbelievable. The type of year that we had in 2008 and the type of situation that it could have could have been an awkward situation. Those guys in the locker room deserve a lot of credit for not letting it be an awkward situation and embracing me as a teammate and going on to accomplish a goal of being AFC East Division Champs and making NFL history."

One reporter asked Pennington if he thought it would be premature to count him out. "I think you guys have been around this league long enough," he said. "I think you definitely would be. For any team to put anybody out of its plans because you never really know how things unfold. Similar to this injury...I never would have guessed this in a million years. We'll wait and see. I've really enjoyed being here."

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