Brian Hartline battled gangrene, other health issues in offseason

Miami’s Brian Hartline is the NFL’s leading receiver with 455 yards and, with 25 catches, he’s tied for ninth in the league. For a guy who has a career best of 43 catches for 615 yards in 2010, the first quarter of 2012 has been phenomenal -- and unexpected -- for Hartline and the Dolphins.

If that weren’t impressive enough, NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington has an interesting story that details Hartline’s offseason health problems -- namely, an appendix that needed to be surgically removed, a case of gangrene, and a 12-day stay in the hospital in which he wondered if he had a 50 percent chance of surviving.

“There was just a black cloud over him," said Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano. "It was nothing self inflicted -- just bad luck. It wasn't normal. It wasn't the normal progressions of ups and downs that a football player generally experiences in his career."

Make sure to read the story (if you didn’t catch the link the first time, here it is again), even if only for the nauseating airplane story that showcased Hartline continuously moving from his seat to the bathroom and the description of why Hartline could eat only popsicles for nearly two weeks (not coincidentally, Hartline lost 25 pounds in the offseason).

“The poor guy just couldn't get out of his own way," coach Joe Philbin said. "You felt bad for him. The [first-year] coaching staff didn't have a lot of history with him, and we didn't know him yet, but you feel for guys who can't get over the hump.

"There was nothing he could do. When you go see a kid in the hospital and he has to stay there for 12 days, it's not like he's faking it."

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