Dolphins coach Tony Sparano opened his Wednesday press conference by making the announcement, which local sports talk radio show hosts and callers had been asking for following Henne's three-interception performance in a 26-10 loss at Baltimore last Sunday.
But considering the investment the Dolphins had made in Henne as a second-round pick out of Michigan in 2008, and the fact that he went 7-6 as a starter last year after Pennington went down with a season-ending shoulder injury and had decent numbers through eight games this season makes this move a surprising one.
Pennington, now in his 11th season, is just two years removed from his best season as a pro. In 2008 he threw for a career-high 3,653 yards, 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions and finished second to the Colts' Peyton Manning for NFL MVP after leading Miami to an 11-5 record and its first AFC East title since 2000. It was the greatest single-season turnaround in NFL history as the Dolphins had gone 1-15 the year before.
"After making long evaluation on all details involved what I've decided to do here as we move forward right now is that this week Chad Pennington is going to be the quarterback," Sparano said. "I took a lot of things into consideration and weighed an awful lot of options out. This is not an indictment on Chad Henne at all. It's not an indictment on his future.
"I do believe this player has gotten an awful lot better right now and certainly come two-fold from where he was to where he is right now, but at this particular time it's something that I feel like I need to do for our football team."
Sparano said Henne took the news well and handled it very professionally.
"Chad's been great and there's no hatred now that he's starting," Henne said. "It's none of our decisions. It's all up to the coaching staff and we're going to remain the same. He's helped me out throughout my career, I'm going to stick by him and help him out as much as I can and we're in it together.
"We're in it to win a championship and that's what we're here for. ... I'm going to evaluate it and obviously turnovers glare at you and some of the decision making, but for me it's just keep on improving, keep throwing it. I'm not going to shy away from throwing the ball like I know how to and playing the game like I know how to."
Now Pennington returns to the role that originally brought him to Miami.
"Chad (Henne) has made some really good progress," Pennington said. "And has done some really good things -- almost thrown for 2,000 yards in eight games ... And I think a good thing about this situation is that he's on the front end of his career and I'm on the back end of mine ... so, we're not two dogs fighting over the same piece of meat. So I think it's possible to work and that's why it can work."
To read more on Miami's surprising move, go to Dolphins.com
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