British running back Jay Ajayi insists he has extra incentive to succeed at American football’s highest level as he kicks off his NFL career with a Miami Dolphins rookie mini-camp this weekend.
Ajayi was born and raised in London and Essex before moving to the United States in 2000 at the age of seven. He is currently smarting from the experience of last week’s NFL Draft where he was expected to be chosen in the second or third rounds.
With media reports speculating about the state of his reconstructed right knee, the Boise State star slid all the way to the fifth round and ended up being the 14th running back selected.
The Arsenal fan who recently returned to the UK ahead of the Draft said:
“Watching the Draft, I did think I was going to go earlier so I was definitely disappointed. I know right now that I’m extremely healthy and I’m ready to go into camp and contribute right away.
“I’m excited that the Dolphins took a chance on me. This has only made me hungrier and added to that chip on my shoulder that I’m going into camp with and I’m going to play with for the rest of my career.”
Ajayi was extremely productive throughout his college career and his powerful and well-rounded style is expected to fit well in Miami alongside incumbent starter Lamar Miller.
“The Dolphins are going to get a running back who is complete – a guy who can contribute right away and is going to do whatever he can for the team. I’m a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield, run inside and outside, and has the mental aspect of the game to be able to pick up blitzes and is going to make sure he keeps his quarterback protected..
“I think I’m a versatile player who can do a lot for the Dolphins. I’ve shown to be able to move the chains on third down with power and I’ve shown I’ve been able to make big plays using my speed and catching the ball out of the backfield.”
As he embarks on the beginning of his NFL career, Ajayi is confident that he can make the step up to the next level and also silence those critics who wonder just how long he will last in the league
Ajayi, who carried 678 times during his busy college career, concluded:
“I know that with my knee and with the way I made sure I handled it, I will play for a long time. I’m just excited to see how my future unfolds and I’m excited to be a Dolphin.”