Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller suffered a season-ending knee injury in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Houston Texans, a source told FOX Sports.
Keller was hurt in the second quarter of Saturday’s exhibition game at Houston. His leg bent unnaturally when he was tackled by D.J. Swearinger on an incompletion. He grabbed his right knee and was then carted off the field.
Keller, 28, was to undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the full extent of his injuries. ESPN reported he suffered three torn ligaments and a dislocated knee cap.
Keller, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Jets, signed a one-year, $4.25 million deal with the Dolphins in the spring. The team offered him a four-year contract with roughly the same average per season (and more guaranteed money), but he decided to take the one-year contract in hopes of a bigger payday next offseason.
"Obviously I wanted to get a multi-year deal, but I just didn’t feel like my worth was there and understandably so, I missed half the year with injuries," Keller told Marvez and co-host Bill Polian on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. "Miami is where I want to be, it’s where I would like to be long-term for sure, but I just want to take this season to kind of reestablish myself, reprove myself and then kind of come back to the table and whether it’s a one-year deal, whatever, I’m comfortable here and this is for sure where I want to be."
Keller was injured after making a catch when he was hit low by Swearinger. The rookie safety offered Keller best wishes on his Twitter account (@JungleBoi_Swagg). Swearinger also wrote that the blow to Keller’s leg wasn’t designed to hurt him, but he also wanted to avoid a hit to the head area that could draw an NFL fine.
“The rules say you can’t hit high so I went low and I’m sorry that happened,” Swearinger told the Palm Beach Post after Houston’s 24-17 win. "I would think you’d rather have more concussions than leg injuries. Leg injury, you can’t come back from that. A concussion, you be back in a couple in a couple of weeks.”
Miami signed Keller after unsuccessfully courting former Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook, who signed with St. Louis instead after the Dolphins declined to match a five-year, $35.1 million contract offer. The Dolphins had hoped Keller would provide the big-play receiving threat the team had lacked at tight end in recent seasons.
Backup tight ends Charles Clay, Michael Egnew and rookie Dion Simms are expected to assume some of Keller’s responsibilities but that trio is largely unproven. The Dolphins also are expected to sign another tight end to take Keller’s roster spot, but there are scant quality replacements remaining as free agents.
A 2008 first-round draft pick from Purdue, Keller caught a career-high 65 passes for 815 yards and five touchdowns in 2011. Injuries limited him to eight games and 28 catches last season.