Vince Biegel took a circuitous route to land back on the Miami Dolphins’ active roster this week ahead of the team’s Sunday home game against the Carolina Panthers.
Already missing the entire 2020 season with a torn Achilles, the outside linebacker that contributed significantly in 2019 was injured with a calf strain in training camp this year. He was released with an injury settlement in early September, freeing him up to join another team.
Biegel found himself signing back onto the Dolphins’ practice squad in October, elevated for two different games and, with fellow outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett placed on injured reserve following Sunday’s win at the New York Jets, Biegel was the natural replacement, signed for good to the 53-man roster.
“I think the game of football is a journey and sometimes the gift is the struggle,” said Biegel on Wednesday. “It’s been quite a journey this year, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m just thankful to be back with a great organization like the Dolphins and help this team come out and win ball games.”
Biegel was initially placed on injured reserve in August, which would’ve ended his season before it began had he remained on IR with the Dolphins, but being released with the injury settlement ahead of the season made him available to return once he was ready. The only issue was he was then free to sign with another team.
Biegel received interest from other teams, but he always had the idea of returning to the Dolphins. When he came back to find all his same equipment in his locker the way he left it, he was convinced the team actually never cleaned it out.
“I have a great relationship with [coach Brian Flores] and a great relationship with this team – honestly, that’s not just talk,” Biegel said. “I really wanted to come back here, and I really do love this team. My family loves it here in Miami.
“I’m just excited to get back, move past the injuries and finally be able to get out there and play football again and be able to help this team win and be able to make plays with guys like [Andrew] Van Ginkel, Jaelen Phillips and be able to bring the energy on defense, special teams and on the team.”
Biegel feels he is now fully recovered from both the preseason calf injury and 2020 Achilles tear.
“Both are 100-percent healthy,” he said. “I’ve been running around here now for the last six weeks and bringing the juice on special teams, bringing the juice on scout team defense.”
Biegel started 10 of 15 games played for Miami in 2019 after he was acquired from the New Orleans Saints in a trade for former linebacker Kiko Alonso. He produced 59 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, a team-leading 13 quarterback hits and one interception that year, Flores’ first at the helm for the Dolphins.
“It’s the same type of system, right?” Biegel said. “It’s not overly different from what we had in 2019, so there are a lot of parallels, a lot of similarities. It’s still the Miami Dolphins’ defense.”
The Dolphins used the maximum two instances a practice-squad player can be elevated to a game-day roster without being signed to the 53 between the Oct. 31 game at the Buffalo Bills and following Sunday versus the Houston Texans. He did not play in Buffalo and saw three special teams snaps against the Texans.