It’s safe to say Jay Ajayi still has bitter feelings toward the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins traded Ajayi, who was the team’s starting running back for a year and a half, to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 31 for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, mere hours before the NFL’s trade deadline.
Has he used the trade as motivation?
“Yes,” Ajayi told nj.com.
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Is he out to prove the Dolphins wrong?
“Yes,” Ajayi repeated.
And Ajayi has the opportunity to do just that this week.
While the Dolphins are mulling over their 6-10 finish to the season, Ajayi and the Eagles are one win away from reaching the Super Bowl after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the NFC Divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
“I don’t think it will be redemption until I win the Super Bowl,” Ajayi said. “If we can get that done, then I’ll have my redemption.”
After the trade, Ajayi played in seven of the Eagles’ final eight regular-season games and rushed for 408 yards and a touchdown on 70 carries (5.8 yards per rush). In the Eagles’ win against the Falcons, he overcame a fumble on his first carry of the game to rush for a team-high 54 yards on 15 carries.
Ajayi also played a critical role on the Eagles’ final scoring drive. Facing a third and 7 early in the fourth quarter, Ajayi took a screen pass from Nick Foles and ran down the left sideline for a 32-yard gain. Eleven plays and about eight minutes later, kicker Jake Elliot converted a 21-yard field goal to put Philadelphia up by 5 points. The Eagles forced a goal-line stand on Atlanta’s ensuing possession to seal the win.
Now the only thing standing in Ajayi’s way from his first Super Bowl appearance — something the Dolphins haven’t experienced since 1984 — is a Sunday matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff is set for 6:40 p.m. from Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.