The No. 1 overall selection in 2008, Long has started all 48 possible regular season games in his stellar career, including last season despite battling a knee injury and torn labrum.
It was that knee injury that had Long on the PUP list to begin training camp in July, and while most reports about him being ready for the regular season were positive, it was difficult to not wonder if things were more serious than the team was letting on.
The Dolphins would have been comfortable installing him as the starting left tackle in the season opener with little practice or preseason time, but the fact that he's already activated practically ensures he'll be ready for the New England Patriots come Sept.
It's certainly good news for the Dolphins, as the lone weak link among the starting offensive line in Friday's game against Carolina was Long's replacement, Lydon Murtha, who committed three penalties and struggled in pass protection.
Murtha should still make the roster and back Long up at left tackle, but he'll also now have more of an opportunity to work on the right side and push current starter Marc Colombo. Considering Colombo's experience and quality play thus far, I'd expect Murtha to lose that battle and remain a backup in 2011.
Dolphins ink undrafted rookie lineman Tyler Donahue
Despite the return of Long, the Dolphins added another offensive lineman this weekend in the form of undrafted rookie Tyler Donahue. A Bowling Green alum, Donahue initially signed with the St. Louis Rams, but was waived on Aug. 6.
The initial news linking Donahue to the Dolphins was actually broken by the player himself, as he tweeted Saturday that he had a workout in Miami the following morning. A report Sunday confirmed the signing.
Listed at 6'6" and 298 pounds, Donahue appeared in 22 games over his first two seasons at Bowling Green. He opened all 12 games at right tackle as a junior in 2009, and began his senior year at the same spot before moving to left tackle due to injuries.
Donahue is reportedly a strong technician and has decent range, but he lacks ideal bulk and needs to get a lot stronger to handle NFL defensive lineman. He's your typical college tackle with a nice resume that projects at guard in the pros due to lack of elite physical tools.
Despite reports of him signing that call him a tackle, Donahue was listed as a guard during his brief stint with the Rams, and likely projects there with the Dolphins considering the team already has seven tackles on the roster.
Most likely, Donahue will work behind Vernon Carey and John Jerry at right guard in practice and will try to get some playing time in the team's final two preseason games. However, considering his limited physical tools and late entry to the team, he's likely just trying to earn a practice squad spot so he can be developed into an NFL backup.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.