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Dolphins players, coaches avoid football talk at charity event

AVENTURA, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are holding a charity event this weekend so players and coaches are getting the opportunity to spend time together during the NFL lockout.

One caveat: No football talk.

Players and coaches are not permitted to meet with each other during the labor impasse, but when wide receiver Brian Hartline was talking about the lockout, assistant coach Karl Dorrell reached out to shake his hand.

The Dolphins are hosting their Fins Weekend and Hartline and other players on hand for Friday's golf outing say they enjoyed seeing their coaches.

"It's good to see the guys and catch up and really enjoy a day," Hartline said. " I wish it was more football-related, but it's a good time."

Punter Brandon Fields also took part in the golf outing, which will be followed by a fishing expedition on Saturday.

"It's a little different," he said. "When we see them, there's no animosity between us or anything like that. It's just kind of different because of the fact we would have been seeing them every single day and now it's kind of the first time in a couple of months since the whole fiasco of lockout, un-lockout, back-to-lockout type of deal."

Quarterback Chad Henne agreed.

"I've seen all the (players) pretty much that are here, but the good thing is we get to see the coaches a little bit," Henne said. "Even though you only get to say, 'Hey, hello, how you doing?' It's good to see them and hopefully we can get back in the facility soon."

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For head coach Tony Sparano, the weekend represents not only an opportunity to socialize with his players, but also to get fans excited about his team again.

"The most important thing to come out of this thing is that people get a good buzz about the Miami Dolphins and about football again," Sparano said. "I know that right now out there people are unsure, but eventually it's going to happen, we're going to get back out there on the field. This thing is going to get going and we're (getting) our players back in our building and the Miami Dolphins are going to get back in that stadium again against the New England Patriots" for their Sept. 12 opener.

Henne and former Michigan teammate Jake Long have been running Dolphins workouts during the lockout.

It's an experience that has helped Henne take on more of a leadership role.

"To me, I guess it's a lot of fun," Henne said. "Coming from Michigan, I was kind of that guy, the leader. Now it's kind of stepping into that role again and for me it's just a new experience and a lot of fun for me to be around the guys and push them around and have fun with it."

The lockout has been especially difficult for linebacker A.J. Edds, who missed his entire rookie season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in training camp. Fields said the lockout has given him more time to spend with his wife, who is a student in Daytona.

While this weekend is a good chance to catch up, players and coaches are hoping a resolution to the labor impasse comes quickly and brings them back together for good.

"I definitely think there's going to be progress made," Henne said. "Staying out of court is probably the best issue right now because it seems like every time we go to court we get another appeal. Hopefully, these meetings that are happening will help us out and get us back earlier."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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