Football

Jim Caldwell takes leave of absence, will assume consultant role for Dolphins in 2019

The Miami Dolphins will begin the 2019 NFL season without an experienced assistant coach who was expected to aid first-time head coach Brian Flores.

Jim Caldwell, 64, will take a leave of absence to address a health issue, the team announced on Saturday. He will now serve as a consultant for the team this season instead of his role as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach on Flores' coaching staff.

Caldwell did not want to disclose the nature of his health concerns, but released a statement through the team.

"I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention," Caldwell said. "I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family."

Added Flores on Caldwell: "Our focus is on Jim's health and supporting him in every way that we can. With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to the coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season."

Caldwell was hired to Flores' staff in January, expected to help Flores and the Dolphins navigate through their next phase at the quarterback position where 14-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year standout Josh Rosen were competing for the job in Miami this season.

Flores has not yet made any changes to his coaching staff, but assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski could assume a greater role in Caldwell's absence with the quarterbacks under new, first-time offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea.

Schuplinski served as assistant quarterbacks coach to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for the last three seasons before joining the Dolphins staff.

Caldwell's presence was valued on the coaching staff because of his two decades of experience as a head coach. He was the only coach on Flores' staff with head coaching experience.

Caldwell posted a 26-22 record with Peyton Manning as the Indianapolis Colts coach from 2009-11, and a 36-28 record with Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions from 2013-17.

The Dolphins begin training camp for the upcoming season on July 25.

During the preseason, Miami will host the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 8 at Hard Rock Stadium, visit Tampa Bay on Aug. 16 at Raymond James Stadium, host against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 22 at 8 p.m., and conclude on Aug. 29 on the road against the New Orleans Saints.

The Dolphins' 2019 season will begin against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium.

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