It likely won’t make many NFL notebooks, but it may be a first.
The Miami Dolphins may have the most Mormons on its roster than any NFL team ever.
As the Dolphins began rookie mini camps and camps for veterans, there are six members of the LDS faith on the team right now, including a trio of veterans, quarterback John Beck (BYU), John Denney (BYU) and Sampson Satele (Hawaii) Steve Fifita (Utah), who was cut and picked up by New England, would have been the seventh, had he stayed on the roster.
The others are Utah State offensive lineman Shawn Murphy, son of former Atlanta Brave star Dale Murphy, who was drafted in the fourth round by Miami, No. 115 overall; free agent signee Kelly Poppinga (BYU) and free agent receiver Devone Bess (Hawaii), who was thought to be taken in the fifth round by Miami but was picked up after the draft.
Some interesting tidbits.
Poppinga may have received a big break in getting to Miami when the Dolphins hired a coach from Green Bay who was familiar with his older brother, former Cougar Brady Poppinga, who is a starting outside linebacker for the Packers.
Bess, a big and talented target for record-breaking QB Colt Brennan at Hawaii this past year when the Warriors made a BCS bowl, converted to the LDS Church recently after being taught church lessons by Hawaii quarterback Inoke Funaki, who is currently battling fifth-year senior Tyler Graunke for the starting job.
Bess has turned a lot of heads in the Dolphin’s mini-camp and has been the talk of many Dolphin fans the past week.
Funaki played at Kahuku High on the north shore and served a mission to the Dominican Republic where he was a companion of Rudy Beck, younger brother of John Beck.
Six LDS players on one NFL roster?
Somebody with more research at their finger tips top that one for me. I don’t think its ever been done and it could be up to seven if Fifita had stayed.
In other BYU/NFL news, linebacker Markell Staffieri just signed a 3-year free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. He just needs to survive the cuts in coming weeks, like all free agents, to stick on that roster.