The final image of Mike Gesicki's 2019 season was of him celebrating his game-winning touchdown catch at Gillette Stadium on the final Sunday of December.
It was a glorious end to what became a breakout season for the Miami Dolphins tight end, who overcame a slow start to show the promise that came with his arrival as a 2018 second-round pick out of Penn State.
Gesicki isn't necessarily a believer in the notion that his late-season success will automatically carry over in 2020. Rather, he's just looking forward to showing all over again he needs to be featured in the Dolphins offense under new coordinator Chan Gailey.
"I’m excited for another opportunity to go out and do what I love to do," Gesicki said. "I’m sure every guy on the team is, too. I think regardless of whatever scheme you’re in, system you’re in, I think you earn the opportunities you’re presented with. Regardless of what the X's and O’s are, what you do in practice on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, what you do in training camp, what you do before the games starts on Sunday, I think those are the opportunities you earn yourself.
"I’m excited for whenever practice rolls around to go out there, and prove myself to a new offensive coordinator. It’s a new guy calling the plays and I think it’s exciting as a competitor."
After a rookie season during which he had only 22 catches for 202 yards without a touchdown, Gesicki had 28 receptions in the 10 games but still found himself without a score.
He finally broke the ice with his first NFL touchdown in the late-November game at Cleveland, though it came in a 41-24 loss.
It was the start of a really strong finish for Gesicki, who had five touchdown catches in the last six games, including two in the overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals and, of course, the game-winner at New England.
It was the signature moment of a Dolphins season that ended with the team on the upswing, one that's been replayed quite a bit since the start of the new year.
“Yeah, obviously that’s a clip that’s surfaced throughout this offseason and it’s something that excited our fans and gives them something to hold on to," Gesicki said. "But for me and what it kinda meant to me, it was a cool moment. It was great for our team to finish our season on that our note and everything like that. At this point, it’s just another play in the past, and I’m focused on helping this team win more games in the future. That’s where I’m at right now, just focusing on this offseason and moving forward to when training amp rolls around to go in there in compete. I’m excited for this next opportunity.”
Gesicki's five touchdowns were the second-most among all NFL tight ends in the final six games behind only the six by Jared Cook of the New Orleans Saints.
"I think it’s just part of how you kind of grow and develop in this league," Gesicki said. "I think I was able to learn a lot throughout my first season in the NFL and then kind of learn from those experiences, know where I needed to improve on my game, and be able to make the most of my opportunities moving on in my second year. So when those opportunities presented themselves I was able to show what I was capable of doing, I was able to make the most of our opportunities and help our team win a few games and kind of build toward the second half of last year."
But last year is done. Gesicki will be starting over. And he's ready to start from scratch and prove himself all over again.