After three consecutive trips to the Super Bowl and two victories the Dolphins narrowly missed a 4th opportunity after the 1975 regular season. It was then that Don Shula began making changes.
In 1976 the Dolphins received compensation in the form of draft picks for Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka, and Paul Warfield. The trio had left for the WFL after the ’74 season. The league folded and the players returned to the NFL but not to the Dolphins. Warfield would return to Cleveland and Kiick to the Broncos. Miami held their rights and were given compensation after they returned. Csonka would join the New York Giants but eventually would return to Miami to finish his career.
The Dolphins however would make some changes of their own. Running back Mercury Morris would make an exit on August 24th when Shula traded him to the San Diego Chargers. The real shocker of that day’s dealings however would continue to simmer for almost 30 years.
Miami’s Don Shula agreed with a team physician that safety Jake Scott’s shoulder injury wasn’t as bad as Scott was making out. The coach told Scott to get a shot so he could play in a pre-season game. Scott didn’t want to and an argument erupted in the locker room. A day later on the 24th of August, Shula made the move to get rid of his best safety.
Shula would send Scott as well as a 4th round pick in the ’77 draft to the Washington Redskins for safety Bryant Salter. The argument had simmering for some time but the trade of Scott pushed it over the edge. The two never spoke to each other and avoided each other at team events or functions.
It would eventually end but it would take almost 30 years and an “I missed you” from Scott for the hatchet to finally be buried.