Dolphins star running back Jay Ajayi is being evaluated for a concussion after leaving Monday’s full-contact practice with the help of medical staff.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase did not have a definitive prognosis on Ajayi when he met with reporters after practice. Ajayi, who rushed for 1,272 yards in 2016 (fourth-most in the league), was replaced by Kenyan Drake in the starting lineup.
Ajayi took hard shots from both defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and safety T.J. McDonald Monday.
Drake said Ajayi was "taking shots right and left," but is hopeful that his teammate will be back “sooner rather than later.”
Gase wanted a more physical training camp after his defense had tackling issues in 2016, and knew he was in a no-win situation. Either he’d get criticized for not hitting enough before the season, or he’d take heat if one of his best players got hurt while doing so.
“You're going to be wrong either way,” Gase added. “We felt like that was best for our football team, that we needed to go live and tackling. It's football.”
A potential head injury is all the more alarming considering Ajayi’s style of play. He was among the league’s leaders in both broken tackles and yards after contact in 2016.
Ajayi entered the NFL with serious concerns about the structural integrity of his knee — he has very little cartilage after a college injury — but that hasn’t been an issue in the NFL. He did miss part of his rookie season with a rib injury.