Eligible to return this week after serving a six-game PED suspension that began last season, Will Fuller was expected to play in Miami’s home opener Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, but apparently that will no longer be the case. Fuller left the team to tend to a “personal matter” Thursday and it’s unclear when—or if—he’ll return this season.
After years of showing flashes, Fuller finally broke out for Houston last season, averaging the NFL’s 10th-most receiving yards per game (79.9) prior to his suspension. The Notre Dame alum parlayed that success into a one-year, $10.625-million contract this offseason, joining an improved pass-catching unit anchored by DeVante Parker and first-round rookie Jaylen Waddle. A tantalizing talent and a dominant deep threat when healthy, Fuller has endured a frustrating summer, missing the bulk of training camp with a vague “lower-body” injury and now departing under suspicious circumstances days before what would have been his Dolphins debut.
“I’ve had multiple conversations with him. The past couple days he’s definitely been dealing with a personal issue,” confirmed coach Brian Flores. “We support Will. Taking it one day at a time.” It was the latter mantra—“one day at a time”—that Flores repeated whenever the media pressed for details, masterfully batting away questions about Fuller’s whereabouts or when he might return.
Flores, of course, got his start under Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has always been short with the media (unless he’s asked for a dissertation on long snappers). Is there more to Fuller’s absence than meets the eye or is Flores merely stonewalling the media out of respect for his star receiver’s privacy? It could be a bit of both, though all we know for sure is that Fuller won’t be in uniform against Buffalo, leaving Parker, Waddle and Albert Wilson to round out the Fins’ starting receiver trio in Week 2.