There were red flags abound on the health of running back Jay Ajayi’s knees coming out of Boise State and into the 2015 NFL Draft, but that didn’t stop the Miami Dolphins from taking a chance on him by drafting him in the fifth round that year.
Ajayi reward them by rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and nine touchdowns, with 48 receptions, and doing it in just two-and-a-half years before he was dealt to the Eagles at the trade deadline in 2017.
On Sunday, Ajayi will return to Miami for the first time since the trade when the Eagles play the Dolphins (1 pm/FOX).
“I wouldn’t say it’s exciting,” said Ajayi. “It’s like a nostalgic (trip), get to remember those memories and playing there and the good things I accomplished there.”
Ajayi has no hard feelings of how his time there ended, and called Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker “my brother.”
Really though, how could Ajayi have any animosity for the Dolphins?
Miami ended up doing him a favor because Ajayi helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII months after being acquired by the Eagles.
Philly has, in fact, become a special place to the England-born runner.
“I love the fan base here, a lot of my teammates are still here, it’s just a crazy way of how this whole year happened to come back around to being on Philly, but it’s definitely a blessing,” said Ajayi days after the Eagles re-signed him on Nov. 16.
Ajayi became a free agent after last season but had no takers because he was still rehabbing another torn ACL suffered early in the 2018 season.
Sunday will mark Ajayi’s second game action since his return with the Eagles. In last week’s loss to Seattle, he was on the field for just nine plays. He had six carries for 16 yards.
The Eagles could again be without top back Jordan Howard, who is still struggling to regain strength in his shoulder after suffereing a stinger three weeks ago agianst the Chicago Bears.
Howard still has yet to be cleared for contact and has been limited to just individual drills in practice.
“I just do the plays when I’m called, so hopefully it’s a little bit more,” said Ajayi. “If not, then it is what it is and I’ll do what I can with what I get. I felt good, good to be running the ball again … I didn’t feel anxious, learning how to get hit again, take tackles, contact again.”