Clive Walford’s career seemed to be on track.
Even a knee injury from an ATV accident before his second season didn’t cause him to miss any time.
Then suddenly, his production plummeted.
The tight end out of the University of Miami averaged 31 catches his first two seasons. He’s had nine catches total in the two years since, and appeared in just one game in 2018.
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How does he explain it?
“Unfortunately, after my second year, the Raiders brought in a new offensive coordinator and a new staff,” Walford said. “They brought in a different tight end, Jared Cook. Some of the opportunities started to diminish.”
Consider Miami the land of opportunity in 2019. Walford signed with the Dolphins on the first day of free agency, one of two tight ends they’ve added in the last few weeks. (Dwayne Allen is the other.)
That suggests the Dolphins are not sold on Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Nick O’Leary, even though they made substantial investments in each within the past year.
So a job is there for Walford to win. And it means he could spend his Sundays playing in the stadium where he spent his Saturdays just a few years back.
Walford, who said he’s “in the best shape of my life,” added that coming home as a leading motivator to sign with Miami. He’s from Palm Beach County and played his high school ball at Belle Glade.
But the confidence he has in the people now running the organization helped seal the deal, he said.
“Obviously, coach [Brian] Flores, he comes from a winning background, being they just won a Super Bowl,” Walford added. “It’s a great staff they put together. It’s a fresh start to my career. I’ve got an opportunity to come in here, help this tight end room, help this offense, and make my mark on the team.”