When we were at the 49ers, he was the guy behind the scenes as OC and run game coordinator. He did everything in his power to make sure the players felt comfortable about the game plan. You see what is transpiring here right now—all the guys love him. They love how he coaches. He always says, adversity is an opportunity. That’s the case for him—he uses that as motivation and an opportunity to get better. From last year to this year, the growth in him and his play calling, it shows why we are the #1 offense in the league and why we finish top tier in points. Even on the defensive side of the ball, those guys have been able to step up, too. It’s been fun.
Judging by your team’s TD celebrations, it looks fun.
Yeah, he started that last year when he first came in. He told everybody, “I don’t know what’s happened in the past and I don’t care, but what I want to do now, when you make a play, celebrate. Enjoy that play—you did that.” We took it upon ourselves this year to make it a priority when we score or make a big play—on both sides of the ball. To celebrate and enjoy it with your brothers.
The speedwalking one might be my favorite.
The speedwalking—I think I did that one. Me and Tyreek [Hill] both decided. We wanted to do something like, hand the baton off, but that’s been done. Then we decided, hey, maybe we should speedwalk, and have one guy—honestly Reek improvised and did the whole, “I’m cramping in my hamstring,” and that made it all the more sweet.We did Remember the Titans, I came up with that one. It’s one of those things where you want to get everyone involved. We want everybody to be a part of this thing.
This has been such a big season for you personally. What will you still remember in 20 years about this year?
I will say it’s the record-breaking: the most TDs in Dolphins history. Hopefully that record won’t be broken anytime soon, but I will be looking back at that one.
And what a year Tua has had, especially after last season.
It just shows the type of integrity he has, the time and effort he’s put in this off-season to get his health right. Last year was a very scary situation, not only for him, but the whole organization, and his brothers, watching him go down the way he did. Feeling helpless, like you couldn’t do anything to help him. For him to come back and do things in the off-season like his jiu jitsu, learning how to fall, that played a key role in his success this year. That shows you the type of person he is. He wants to get better and take ownership of his faults. He wants to grow. You can’t ask for a better person in the locker room to handle so much criticism, so many naysayers doubting him—he led the league this year in passing yards. That says a lot.
Has he taught you any jiu jitsu?
No, he hasn’t. Honestly, I saw those guys do that and I was like, “Man, I gotta do that.” I’ve been thinking about what I’ll do this off-season. One of my good friends is Gilbert Burns, an MMA fighter. I told him, “his off-season we’ll be linking up when you’re not fighting.
You grew up in New Smyrna and you’re a surfer. Any pro surfer you’d like to ride waves with?
Obviously the GOAT, Kelly Slater—he’s one of my good friends. He’s so chill and cool. He’s the man—I love talking to him, his mentality of how he’s approached the surfing world and everything he’s done. One of my other friends is Evan Gieselman—he’s from my hometown. He’s making me a custom surfboard.
You’re a skateboarder, too. Surfing and skateboarding are Olympics sports now—any chance we will see you competing there next?
Honestly, that’s a good question. I need to get prepared for that. I haven’t skateboarded in a while and it’s in my contract that I can’t surf, so I gotta wait.
Who’s going to be facing off in the Super Bowl?
I’d love to say us, but we gotta figure this game out this weekend first. For us, it starts with the Chiefs. The Niners have the easier path in the NFC to get there, but honestly, it’s any given Saturday or Sunday for every team.
Who’s going to be the MVP?
Christian McCaffrey—I stand firm on that. He’s been lights-out this whole season. 2,000 all-purpose yards, led the league in rushing—he had more carries and ran with it, he’s tied with me for most TDs. Obviously I’d have to say it’s him.
Are you two friends IRL?
We are, actually. We were texting each other every other week, giving each other crap. There’s a funny story—his brother Max works with the Dolphins, and I played with Max when I was a 49er. Max was telling me one time how Christian hated these certain cleats. I ended up buying the cleats off of eBay and sending them to him. I told him to use these to slow down, so I could catch him in rushing [laughs]. He was like, “Dude, how could you? Those God-forsaken cleats!” He sent me a picture of them—I told him, “Happy early Merry Christmas.”
You were named to your first Pro Bowl. How does that feel?
RM: In my head, I was like, “About damn time.” [Laughs] Just because I could’ve made it for special teams years ago. But it didn’t work out in my favor. To finally be named to the Pro Bowl for the first time at my position is truly a blessing. I’m on cloud nine, even now thinking about it.
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