47-year-old Dolphins assistant coach dons pads for drill
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) It's been 13 years since Shawn Jefferson played in the NFL, and he looked a little out of shape Tuesday in his helmet, shoulder pads and baggy sweat pants while taking part in blocking drills at Miami Dolphins training camp.
Coach Adam Gase said Jefferson, the Dolphins' receivers coach, seemed hesitant about fulfilling a pledge to show his players how to block a safety downfield.
''I went up to him before he did it,'' Gase said, ''and he kind of had this look in his eye like, `I might be getting a little too old for this.'''
Those who can't, teach. The 47-year-old Jefferson's hands-on tutorial left him sprawled on a mat with players half his age. But he made his point and the receiving corps seemed to love it.
''It's exciting to see a coach who cares about his players,'' third-year pro Matt Hazel said. ''He's got some game. Hopefully, we can do it again tomorrow.''
Don't expect the 38-year-old head coach to take part.
''There's no chance I'd ever do that,'' Gase said.
Among the new assistants under first-year coach Gase, Jefferson has caused the biggest buzz in camp with his fiery approach. He's a holler guy and then some, challenging players to match his energy. Jefferson runs routes in practice and goes nose to nose with players while talking trash.
Gase has called Jefferson ''psychotic,'' meaning it as a compliment. But taking part in a full-contact drill was something new.
At Gase's urging, Jefferson used a padded blocking shield. Even so, the collisions were jarring.
''It's all love,'' Hazel said. ''He brought a little thump. He's got some game.''
Jefferson called a halt when eager rookie receiver Jakeem Grant lined up opposite him.
''I noticed when Jakeem got up there, he was like, `All right, we're done,''' Gase said. ''He didn't want to go against Jakeem.''
Jefferson played from 1991 to 2003 for the Chargers, Patriots, Falcons and Lions, and made 470 career receptions. He has been an NFL coach since 2005 and was with the Titans the past three years.
Now he's coaching a talented corps that includes 1,000-yard receiver Jarvis Landry, 2015 first-round draft pick DeVante Parker and speedy Kenny Stills.
Jefferson didn't talk with the media Tuesday, but earlier in camp said he wanted the receiving corps to follow his lead.
''I'm a go-getter, and I want my group to be go-getters,'' Jefferson said. ''They have to be the first ones to storm the beach. When the ship is listing, they have to right the ship. I put a lot of pressure on those guys, so when we get to the game, there's no pressure. We never want to feel it; we want to apply it.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/steven-wine