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Countless players in the National Football League have had to go through it and now it was Phillip Lindsay’s turn.
The 27-year-old was waived by the Houston Texans on Tuesday and the Dolphins claimed him off waivers on Wednesday, sending Lindsay to a brand-new city and team just a few days before Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers.
As Lindsay left for the airport to head to Miami, his son, Phillip Theo Lindsay, inspired the mindset of the 2018 Pro Bowler on his new journey.
“This is my first time having to deal with a situation like this where many men have to do in the NFL. I think the toughest part about that was seeing my son,” Linsday said after the game, a 33-10 Dolphins win. “As I was getting in the Uber to go to the airport, he had a defeated face. He was just defeated and deflated, crying and bawling. That really hurt. That right there kind of set the tone of, like, I don’t want to have to keep doing this and so for me, it was like the next opportunity I get, I need to run with it. I’ve been working day and night. I got off the plane what was that, Tuesday or Wednesday, at 1:00, 1:30 [p.m.] and went straight to the facility and started to get the plays going.”
Lindsay ran with the opportunity — literally — in the Dolphins’ fourth consecutive victory, rushing 12 times for 42 yards. His attempts and rushing yards only trailed Myles Gaskin.
Coach Brian Flores was coy on Friday when speaking about how involved Lindsay would be in the offensive game plan but he and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa both praised Lindsay’s work to get acclimated to the offense in just two practices.
“I think he did a great job today for us,” Tagovailoa said. “Towards the ending of the game, towards the ending of the third quarter as well, you know, just coming in and not really understanding the offense, but really dialing in this week, staying after practices. Whether it was with me, Jacoby [Brissett], or Jake [Luton], trying to get the guys to stay after, run through some plays with him. I think he is a hard worker from the couple of days that I’ve known him. It shows. Excited to see what the next couple of weeks we can do with him.”
Lindsay, who began his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons after signing with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent, said he was studying “day and night” with co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Eric Studesville to pick up the system in time for Sunday’s game. He had signed a one-year deal with the Texans before he was waived midseason.
“I didn’t know how much I was going to play,” Lindsay said. “I knew that they were going to try to put a package together and I’m thankful that they had the confidence that they did in me to let me go out there for, I thought if I did get in it would be one or two little snaps, so I’m very thankful for that.”
Lindsay not only contributed in the running game, but he also delivered a key block in pass protection that led to a long completion from Tagovailoa to rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Asked about the play after the game, Lindsay — maybe coincidentally — used a common saying from Flores.
“That doesn’t take talent,” Lindsay said. “All that takes is determination and effort, and being of the dog mentality to say I’m not going to let my quarterback get hit. Honestly, that’s what it’s all about. In my head how I process things, and I’m a little crazy, but how I process things is I’m protecting this man, his health and everything about him. If I sit here and I let him go and I let him get hit, his family is watching this, my family is watching this and it’s a bad thing. On top of that, this is how I keep food on the table for my family and I really take that serious. That’s truly who I am, and y’all will get to know me a little bit more about that, but I am crazy in the head. At the end of the day ain’t nothing going to stop me from feeding my family.”
Brandon Jones doesn’t play vs. Panthers
Dolphins safety Brandon Jones was inactive for Sunday’s game after being listed as questionable to play because of ankle and elbow injuries.
Jones had started the last seven games alongside rookie safety Jevon Holland. Eric Rowe started in place of Jones, and Sheldrick Redwine, elevated from the practice squad, also made his team debut Sunday.
The Dolphins also deactivated cornerback Trill Williams (hamstring), tight end Adam Shaheen (knee), linebacker Darius Hodge, safety Will Parks and defensive tackle John Jenkins.
Rookie tight end Hunter Long was active for just the fourth time this season. 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene was active for his sixth game this season.