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.
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.