Williams Hayes is pumped to be in South Florida for a number of reasons, but this is near the top of the list: It gives the Dolphins defensive end great access in his ever-elusive search for mermaids.
So far, no luck.
But if he hangs out long enough with new teammate Charles Harris — the first-round pick who is scheduled to report to Davie on Friday for the start of Dolphins rookie minicamp — Hayes will probably run into Bigfoot at some point.
Harris, the Dolphins’ talented rush end, has a direct line to the monster of the Pacific Northwest.
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They have a business arrangement.
Sasquatch, or at least the costumed actor hired by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, was a special guest at Harris’ draft party. The video of Harris learning his fate is great, and no surprise, it went viral.
Which, of course, was the point of the entire exercise.
Jack Link’s wagon has long been hitched to the mythical simian; the “Messin’ with Sasquatch” ad campaign has helped the Wisconsin-based snack company cut through the clutter.
But in recent months, Jack Link’s has gone beyond commercials. The company has hooked up with high-profile athletes in high-profile moments, and the free advertising has more than paid for whatever honorarium it gives to the player.
Jack Link’s No. 1 celebrity endorser is Karl-Anthony Towns; Charles Barkley has a deal, too. But the company knew it had a large, captive audience draft night and capitalized. Jack Link’s had Harris open his home and paid Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer to wear a branded jacket lined with Sasquatch’s likeness.
So how does such a deal come together?
“We have a great relationship with Ryan Williams of Athletes First who’s Charles Harris’ agent,” said Tom Dixon, Jack Link’s chief marketing officer. “He let us know that Harris is a fan of Jack Link’s and we started to brainstorm ways we could be a part of the draft party at his parent’s home in Kansas City. We’re a nimble, fast-moving team, and scrappy partnerships like this are a perfect example of Jack Link’s ‘Feed Your Wild Side’ spirit.”
Harris did a good job of keeping the plan a secret — even from his guests.
Lee Allen, who coached Harris in high school, was among the many who packed Harris’ home last Thursday.
Allen said he was just settling in when “in walks this furry beast. ... I don't think anyone had a heads up. There was definitely a few screams when he walked in the room.”
Harris hopes to elicit a different kind of scream this fall. The rookie defensive end will be asked to do for the Dolphins what he did regularly at Missouri: get pressure on the quarterback.
The more sacks he collects, the more fans he gains.
And the bigger his profile, the better for Jack Link’s, which hopes this is just the beginning of a relationship between Harris and its famous mascot.
“We’re letting Charles focus on his first mini-camp and get acclimated to life as a Miami Dolphin,” Dixon said. “And, of course, we are on hand to provide him with protein-packed Jack Link’s jerky — it takes a lot of muscle to get off the line of scrimmage as fast as he does.”