Miami Dolphins special teams ace Walt Aikens made it very clear: He hates losing more than he loves winning.
Which made Sunday’s 38-7 beatdown loss to the New England Patriots after a 3-0 start to the season that much tougher to swallow.
“That goes back to even when I was a little kid,“ Aikens said. “I used to cry every time I lost. That stuck with my all throughout high school and maybe even my freshman year of college. That’s how much I have going for the game.”
He and the Dolphins don’t plan to lose this week when they go on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals.
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Aikens’ role on the field for the Dolphins might go unnoticed to the untrained eye. He’s rarely on the field for the big defensive play.
Aikens, a defensive back by trade, serves primarily as a gunner on kickoffs and punts, a role that requires a players to hastily run down field, shed blocks and get to the return man before he can break away for a long gain. He’s filling the void of former Dolphins special teams ace Michael Thomas, who is now with the New York Giants.
Last week against the Patriots, Aikens played 24 of the Dolphins’ 25 special-teams snaps.
On the latest Dolphins in Depth podcast, we sat down with Aikens to discuss a myriad of topics, including:
▪ Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina.
▪ His work with Police Athletic/Activities League, which he became a national spokesman for earlier this year.
▪ How he overcame troubles in college, including an arrest during his time at Illinois for stealing electronics from another student’s dorm room in the spring of his freshman year. Aikens transferred to Liberty University afterward, became a three-year starter and was ultimately selected in the fourth round by the Dolphins in the 2014 NFL Draft.
▪ What went wrong against the New England Patriots and how the team plans to correct those mistakes against the Cincinnati Bengals this week.