Never, ever. Not once.
At no time in Jermon Bushrod’s long football journey did he line up at offensive guard in a game. Not even in his formative years.
But that’s exactly what the Dolphins will ask of him this fall, as Miami’s newest offensive lineman will learn a new position in his 10th NFL season.
And it’s not like the Dolphins see him as an insurance policy in case one of their other guards don’t pan out.
They need him to play. And they need him to play well.
“Whatever needs to be done,” Bushrod told Miami reporters Friday, the day after signing a one-year contract with the Dolphins. “I'm going to compete. I have an offseason to compete.”
Bushrod added: “I don't see it being too tough an obstacle. It'll be hard, but playing in the NFL is hard.”
Just ask Dallas Thomas. And Billy Turner. And Jamil Douglas. The Dolphins had expected two of those three young guards to emerge last year. None really played at a starting caliber level.
So it’s now up to Bushrod, who doesn’t even have a full offseason to learn the position. He underwent shoulder surgery last month. The recovery time is supposed to last into the summer.
But Bushrod insisted that he’ll be ready for the start of training camp in late July. He feels a little bit better everyday.
Plus, Bushrod has already proven that he isn’t a one-dimensional player. He lost his starting job in Week 3 last year after suffering a concussion and that shoulder injury. And yet, then-Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase found creative ways to get Bushrod on the field once he got healthy.
“I think it will be good for me to get out of the left tackle comfort zone,” Bushrod told the Dolphins’ in-house radio program. “When I did come back [last year], I wasn't as healthy as I once was, but he still found some ways to get me on the field, big tight end packages, things like that. He kept me interested. He kept me motivated. I was learning new things. I was learning new techniques.”
Bushrod insisted he will have that same mindset this year in Miami. He cited his relationship with Gase as a big factor in signing with the Dolphins
“He's going to bring that fire,” Bushrod said of Gase. “He's going to bring that energy. He's what this team needs.”
But an even bigger factor: The interest Miami showed in him early in free agency. Bushrod said he had a number of teams reached out, but the Dolphins “stepped up. ... They came out and made the move now.”