LAKE BUENA VISTA — After rushing for more than 1,200 yards in a breakout season, Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has purchased drones for his offensive lineman and tight ends as gifts of appreciation.
“Hopefully we can have a drone party,” Ajayi said Saturday at the Pro Bowl.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ajayi was the third-best running back in the NFL. Although the ratings service did not rank Miami’s offensive line high overall, tackle Ja’Wuan James, center Mike Pouncey and tight ends MarQueis and Dion Sims did score well in the area of run blocking.
“I am grateful for those guys, having a good season,” Ajayi said. “Just trying to show my appreciation to them. And just a little gift, hopefully those guys like it. I think all of those guys (linemen and tight ends) did a great job. I think Dion (Sims) did a great job this year at tight end being a dominant run blocker for us.”
Ajayi selected the Yuneec Breeze drone, a flying camera controlled by an iOS or Android phone and weighing just under one pound. According to Yuneec, the device can be used to capture aerial photos and video in 4K Ultra High Definition.
It is unknown if the Yuneec Breeze can fly over a New England Patriots practice and return to Dolphins camp in Davie unnoticed. But that is one possible creative use.
Ajayi’s gift is both thoughtful and creative. The second-year running back out of Boise State is interested in all sorts of technology and may even buy a Hyperbaric machine this offseason, for recovery.
At the Pro Bowl, AFC teammates have been trying to sell Ajayi on the virtues of compression machines.
“You have to invest in your body,” Ajayi said. “I have an ice machine. You learn so much from these guys about different ways to stay healthy.”
Ajayi said in particular he has developed a bond with Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas this week.
“We’ve been able to get real close,” Ajayi said. “Building our relationship. It’s been cool getting to know these guys outside of the helmet. You see all these guys playing for other teams and you maybe forget that they’re just regular guys, just like you. They’re the best players for this year.”
Ajayi was pleased to hear that Dolphins general manager Chris Grier feels Ajayi has “just scratched the surface.”
“I am grateful that they believe in me,” Ajayi said. “That they believe that my best years are still to come and I believe that as well. I’m confident that I was able to have a great year. But there were still some games I didn’t even really play in as much. And we were still not doing kind of what we were best at. Our identity. We were still figuring it all out. So I still feel like I missed out on some things here or there. So this year (2017) I’m excited to just hit it from the jump. And you know, Year 3, I feel like I definitely need to take a jump.”
If Ajayi does, next year’s gift could be a doozy.
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