Tuesday, February 4, 2014

McKinnie hopes to finish career with Dolphins


The drama surrounding the Miami Dolphins' offensive line will come to a head this Thursday, the planned release date for Ted Wells' report on the alleged 'bullying' of Jonathan Martin by Richie Incognito that sparked a national firestorm.

While Wells' findings on the tumult in the Dolphins' locker room may have a drastic impact on some involved, the situation hasn't affected one free agent lineman's desire to remain in Miami.

Veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie, whose arrival via trade last season helped stabilize the offensive line on the field and the locker room off it, hopes to finish out his career where he played his college ball.

"Hopefully I return back with the Dolphins," McKinnie recently told the Finsiders. "I plan on playing for a couple more years and it would be great to just finish my career there where I already have a home."

McKinnie was acquired from the Baltimore Ravens on October 21, just days before Martin's infamous incident at the team facility. Renowned for his own off-field antics throughout his 12-year career, McKinnie proved to be a steadying force for a team rocked by the controversy.

His most impressive work was performing well alongside a rotation of young prospects after the suspension of Incognito, the veteran most experienced in the offense.

"At the beginning I felt real comfortable because I had Richie, because he’s been there and he was a veteran," McKinnie said. "When he left, I knew I had to depend on myself. There was a rotation, I played with five guards next to me, so that’s kind of hard for someone to come into, but I just had to make it happen.”

Miami's offensive line still gave up a league-high 58 sacks in 2013, but a once-record setting pace was slowed after McKinnie replaced Martin on left tackle. The veteran thinks he could have helped even more if he had more time in the system, which he hopes to get with a new deal this offseason.

"If I had more time, I wouldn’t have had to worry about the person next to me, I could’ve focused more, and the communication would have been better,” McKinnie said. "Towards the end I got a little better, but I got drained too. I didn’t have a bye week, and I came off a short offseason and then went straight back in. I needed the time to hit the refresh button, but I thugged it out."

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