MIAMI – Chad Pennington has decided to try another comeback.
The 34-year-old quarterback lasted only two plays this season with the Miami Dolphins, then underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder for the fourth time. But Pennington said Tuesday he's not ready to retire and hopes to play in 2011, although many obstacles to a full recovery remain.
"This will be a daily and weekly process," he said in a telephone interview. "At any given time my body can say, 'That's enough.' It will be an interesting time. It's a step of faith to see how far I can take this."
The Palm Beach Post first reported Pennington's decision to attempt another comeback. He has twice been chosen the NFL comeback player of the year, each time after returning from shoulder surgery.
In December, as Pennington prepared for surgery, he said it was 50-50 as to whether he would retire. After weighing his options, he decided his shoulder might be up to a 12th NFL season.
"I feel if I don't test it and see what's out there, I'll always have questions in the back of mind," Pennington said. "I still have the desire and passion to play the game. Until that fire burns out, I need to go after that."
A shoulder injury ended Pennington's 2009 season in Week 3. Following arduous rehabilitation, he began the 2010 season as a backup, made his season debut when he started against Tennessee but had to leave the game after only two snaps with a dislocated shoulder and torn capsule.
Pennington becomes a free agent this offseason and it's uncertain whether the Dolphins will re-sign him, although he advised coach Tony Sparano of his comeback plans.
"I've accepted the possibility of being with another team," Pennington said, "and the possibility of no one being interested. I have to see what the options are."
Miami may be more inclined to re-sign Pennington because he has ties with Brian Daboll, who is expected to be hired as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. Daboll was the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach when Pennington played there in 2007.
Pennington's career completion percentage of 66.0 is the highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 attempts. In 2008, his one full season with the Dolphins, Pennington led them to their only playoff berth since 2001.