A week ago Wednesday, when Irma’s cone of destruction tracked directly over the Dolphins’ Davie headquarters, a handful of drivers from All My Sons Moving were stuck in some truly hellacious traffic.
They, like hundreds of thousands of other Floridians, were trying desperately to flee the state before the storm arrived.
But instead of clothes, pets and valuables, they were transporting more than 50,000 pounds of Dolphins football equipment.
And they had to get to Los Angeles — some 2,700 miles away — in time for Wednesday’s practice.
“It took them until Friday or almost Saturday just to get out of Florida due to everybody evacuating,” said Joe Cimino, who has been the Dolphins’ equipment manager for more than a decade. “Those guys at All My Sons did a great job of getting stuff here.”
Two trucks left Davie on Sept. 6. One arrived here Monday. The other pulled into town Tuesday.
Their mission was accomplished. The Dolphins practiced at the Cowboys’ training camp field Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
And what were their limitations?
“None,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said.
Cimino was named the NFL’s top equipment manager four years ago, and while we’re just in Week 2, he’ll be hard to beat for this season’s award.
But Cimino is a modest guy, and characteristically deferred all credit to his staff.
As many as 20 Dolphins employees — including people from the equipment, operations, medical, video and strength departments — feverishly loaded tons of gear into trucks after the last-minute decision to practice on the West Coast was made last week.
But Cimino is the straw the stirs the drink, and the entire building has come to expect that he’ll provide them what they need, when and where they need it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word no,” Gase said. “These guys move quickly and they get things done at a extreme rate. This getting put together as fast as it did and how efficient it’s been and what’s been available to our players and coaches and everybody that’s really been out here has really been unbelievable.”
And it’s not like this week’s surprise migration west has been Cimino’s only challenge this season.
Listen to this dizzying six-week stretch he is navigating: Trips to Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York and London.
Moving trucks have or will be sent to each of those cities (except for London, of course). Even when the Dolphins don’t practice in away cities before the game, more than 15,000 pounds of essential equipment is transported by both plane and big rig.
The Dolphins use drivers instead of loading all of their gear onto the team charters because it saves time for players and coaches on the way home. That means an 18-wheeler is loaded up, and two drivers take shifts of driving through the day and night. While one is behind the wheel, the other sleeps.
When the game is in Jacksonville, it’s not big deal. But a cross-country road trip is a long haul, even when the roads are clear.
“Fort Lauderdale to L.A. and back is 5,400 miles,” Cimino said. “Philly and back is about 2,300 or 2,400 miles. Minnesota is 3,800 miles up and back. So total, that's about 11,500 miles that our All My Sons crew was driving all around the country.”
And that’s just since Week 3 of the preseason.
▪ Linebacker Rey Maualuga did not practice all week due to a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Chargers. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry experienced swelling in his knee after Thursday’s practice and worked on a limited basis Friday. While Landry was listed as questionable, Gase expects him to play Sunday.