The Miami Dolphins released linebacker Lawrence Timmons on Tuesday following an up-and-down season that included an unauthorized absence ahead of the team's Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Timmons, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Dolphins last March, went missing one day ahead of the team's clash with the Chargers at StubHub Center.
TMZ Sports noted Miami filed a missing persons report after being unable to locate or contact the linebacker during bed checks. Police found him at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday morning with a plan to visit his baby in Pennsylvania.
A source told Adam Schefter of ESPN the next day Timmons was "doing much better" and wanted to "resume playing immediately."
Timmons was reinstated two weeks later. He played 14 games and tallied 84 tackles, but he registered no sacks, forced fumbles or interceptions.
He spent the first decade of his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers after getting selected in the first round of the 2007 draft. He racked up 988 tackles, 35.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and 12 interceptions in 158 regular-season games with the franchise.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passed along the defender's response when asked last May about whether his play had started to decline.
"They signed me; I don't feel like there's no drop-off there," Timmons said. "I feel I can cover, stop the run, can blitz the passer."
Although Timmons' first season in Miami didn't live up to expectations for a multitude of reasons, the decision to release him is surprising because of the cost involved. The team saves less than $1 million under the salary cap since his contract will leave a $7.25 million dead-cap hit, per Spotrac.
The linebacker should land elsewhere in free agency, likely on a one-year deal, but he will need to have a strong bounce-back campaign to prove he's still an effective asset.