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MIAMI (CSB4)- Dolphins free-agent quarterback Chad Pennington will take the season off and work as a game analyst for Fox, the network said Saturday.
Pennington’s status for this season had been in serious doubt because of a knee injury sustained while playing basketball in April. Even before the NFL lockout started in March, the Dolphins had not conveyed to him any definitive plans to re-sign him.
“I’m going to take this year off, get healthy,” Pennington told The Charleston (W.V.) Daily News at a Thursday speaking engagement before the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
After this season, “I’m going to evaluate things and see where I am physically. I planned to make a fourth comeback but I’m at a point of my career where I haven’t been patient before. I’m going to be patient now.”
Pennington, who signed a one-year contract with Fox, will be paired with Sam Rosen on one of the network’s announcing teams. “He came to Los Angeles for an audition a few weeks ago and we think he has a chance to be a pretty successful analyst,” Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell said Saturday morning.
Pennington suffered a season-ending rotator cuff injury in the third game of the 2009 season, a year after he quarterbacked the Dolphins to an AFC East title. He began the 2010 season as Chad Henne’s backup and didn’t play until he started the ninth game against Tennessee. But he had to leave that game after two snaps because of a dislocated shoulder and torn capsule, which required a fourth shoulder operation.
Pennington, who turns 35 on June 26, underwent surgery April 7, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a pickup basketball game.
“Playing basketball was just a dumb decision,” he told the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I was in town doing some foundation work and decided to play in a pickup basketball game and tore my ACL. I wasn’t training real hard at the time because I was doing some shoulder rehab and my legs weren’t ready to play basketball. So it was just dumb. The last time I played a pickup basketball game was when I was at Marshall.”
Pennington has won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award twice (after the 2006 and 2008 seasons) and joked that “it seems like I majored” in injury comebacks. His 66 percent completion percentage is the highest in NFL history for quarterbacks with at least 1,500 pass attempts.
“I hang my hat on the relationships I’ve been able to form over the last 11 years and being able to be in the huddle, and help lead the team,” he said. “That’s what playing quarterback is all about. That’s what I’ll miss.”
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(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald and The Charleston (W.V.) Daily News contributed material for this report)