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Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins talking contract

The fast start to Brian Hartline's season couldn't have come at a better time.

The impending free agent leads the NFL in receiving yards and could get some long-term security because of it. Jeff Darlington reports the Miami Dolphins and Hartline have begun preliminary long-term contract talks.

Darlington: Heart to Hartline
Miami's Brian Hartline is the NFL's leading receiver. Jeff Darlington chronicles Hartline's painful path to glory. More ...

It's amazing we're even having this discussion. Darlington details the incredible physical toll Hartline overcome to get in this position. Hartline had his appendix removed and suffered a number of complications before also missing the entire preseason with a calf injury. Now he's leading a shockingly productive receiver group that was mock during HBO's Hard Knocks.

Hartline couldn't hold food down for 12 days and lost 25 pounds in the process over the offseason.

"It was more mental than anything," Hartline said. "Physically, I knew I'd come back eventually. I had to keep the faith. But mentally, I just wanted to be out there. I've never been hurt like that."

Hartline could be a tricky player to sign. The fourth-year pro has never topped 615 yards in a season. He ideally would get paid like a No. 2 receiver from the Dolphins perspective, but his price will keep rising as he puts up No. 1 money.

It's amazing what a true starting quarterback and some incredible persistence from Hartline can accomplish in a month.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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