Team sources said Sunday that several players spent a late night out in South Florida on the eve of an important practice earlier in the week. One of those players -- cornerback Vontae Davis -- didn't travel with the Dolphins to Kansas City as a result of his "inability to act like a professional," a team source said. Davis showed up late to practice on the day after his late night out, according to multiple sources both inside and outside the organization.
After Davis reported to practice, he eventually was confronted by wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who began berating the cornerback for acting unprofessional during a time of despair for the then-winless Dolphins. A shouting match broke out, and Marshall threw a football hard from point-blank range into Davis' face, a source with knowledge of the altercation said.
At that point, Davis had to be restrained as he went after Marshall.
A source close to Davis said the cornerback was "about to rip (Marshall's) head off" after comments that he believed "crossed the line."
A source close to Marshall said several teammates later applauded the receiver's decision to confront Davis. But other team sources said Marshall's approach -- including his decision to throw the football in Davis' face -- caused others to question his hot-and-cold leadership style.
Sources close to Davis were unaware of the cornerback's late night out and instead were led to believe by Davis that he had been benched only because of the heated altercation. But multiple team sources have remained adamant that Davis wasn't left at home as a result of the altercation, supported by the fact that Marshall made the trip to Kansas City, where the Dolphins won their first game of the season.
"Vontae knows exactly why (he was left behind)," one source said.
"The altercation is 100 percent not the reason," another source added.
The Dolphins listed Davis, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, as a late scratch Saturday for "non-injury" reasons, but the team was unwilling to specify those reasons. A team source later said Davis' lack of professionalism -- which included being late for treatment and other important mandatory team events -- led to coach Tony Sparano's decision to leave the cornerback in Miami.
"I'm not going to get into any of that, you guys know that," Sparano said Sunday when asked why Davis didn't make the trip. "Vontae is obviously not here. What goes on in those locker-room doors will stay between me and Vontae."
Although several other players also were out late with Davis on the night before a practice, Davis was the only player left behind, which a source explained was the result of his consistent tardiness.
"Vontae is a special player. He's one of the best players on our team. We look forward to getting Vontae back, hopefully next week," Marshall said Sunday after the Dolphins' 31-3 victory, in which he had eight receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown. "We hold each other accountable, and that's why we're a special group. Record doesn't show it, but hopefully next week we can put another win, back to back."