NFL has speed on and off the field

Elkhart native endured a busy week.
Posted on Oct. 30, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

Nathan Palmer keeps finding out that the speed of the NFL off the field is only surpassed by the game’s speed on the field.

A week filled with plane trips and a flurry of phone calls from his agent ended with Palmer, the Elkhart native who was on the Indianapolis Colts roster until their last exhibition game, signing with the Miami Dolphins.

“I’m now really understanding the businesss end of it,” Palmer said Tuesday, Oct. 29, from his new apartment in Miami. “You basically get the feeling at this point as to what goes down and not to let it catch you off guard ... nothing’s impossible in this league.”

Palmer began last week’s whirlwind search for a new team with a Monday workout at the Dolphins’ training facility in the morning followed by a personal trip to New York City in the afternoon. That same day, his cell phone blew up with more calls.

“My agent wanted to tell me what the scouts said, that they loved me, but didn’t have space for me. He told me to stay positive because it could happen,” Palmer said. “Then he called me again and talked to me about my Bears tryout on Friday.”

Then came a third and a fourth call.

“I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’” Palmer said. “I think it was the fourth call and I asked him if the Bears had canceled. He told me, no ... Miami picked you up.”

Palmer then grabbed a quick flight from New York to Chicago and then he immediately jetted back to Miami. Palmer arrived in Florida at 1 a.m. Tuesday and was up and at the team’s 10 a.m. workout.

“I went through that last year, how fast that turnaround was,” said Palmer, who joined the Colts after being plucked from the San Francisco 49ers practice squad. “That prepared me for this situation. I wasn’t scrambling. It’s like, ‘Let’s handle business.’”

Palmer, a second-year wide receiver and Northern Illinois graduate, was placed on Miami’s practice squad. The Dolphins play a Thursday night home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Miami is thin at wideout with only Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Rishard Matthews on the 53-man roster. Brandon Gibson, the team’s fourth receiver, injured his knee last Sunday agaisnt New England and could be lost for the season. Brian Tyms, a receiver on the Dolphins’ practice squad, was picked up by Cleveland last week.

Palmer and Ryan Spadola, a rookie from Lehigh, are the only receivers on the Miami practice squad.

Last season, Palmer caught one pass after being signed to the Colts’ active roster. The Elkhart Central graduate injured his knee during the last preseason game against Cleveland and was waived after an injury settlement with the team.

“It’s time to learn and adjust and we’ll see down the line on being active,” Palmer said. “Right now, it’s a numbers game.”

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