Miami Dolphins newcomer says Mike McDaniel’s personality played role in him coming to team

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins recently landed Jody Fortson in free agency, providing the team with some depth at the tight end position.

Apparently, the 28-year-old chose to join the Dolphins partly because of head coach Mike McDaniel.

“Of course, everybody wants to go play for someone that they…feel like they could relate to in a sense,” Fortson told the media after he was asked if McDaniel’s personality influenced his decision. “Everybody wants to be able to laugh, but then take serious when it’s time to take serious, but not be too serious. … Everybody wants to be in a comfortable environment where not only that you can learn, but you can excel, and I feel like this does just that.”

Fortson’s arrival in Miami also allows him to reunite with former Kansas City Chiefs teammate Tyreek Hill, who had a gleeful reaction to the news of his signing on social media.

Still, the Valdosta State University product has a lot to prove after missing the entire 2023 season due to injury. It’s worth noting, though, that Fortson’s determination is quite commendable, particularly because his pro career began with him being an undrafted free agent in 2019. The Chiefs took a flyer on him, putting him on their practice squad for the 2019 campaign.

Fortson made Kansas City’s active roster in the 2021 season, where he played in six games, catching five passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns. The following campaign saw him suit up more, as he appeared in 13 matchups and tallied nine receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Fortson saw the Chiefs experience plenty of Super Bowl success during his time around the organization, so he does have some championship pedigree to his name. Moreover, he had the opportunity to train and play with the Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. So, Miami likely saw plenty of upside with the New York native.

It remains to be seen if he can break out with the Dolphins and avoid the type of injuries that have plagued him in his first years in the NFL.

Maybe working with McDaniel is what Fortson needs to reach his potential. After all, the 41-year-old coach is known for his ability to establish good rapport with his players and has helped lead Miami to greater heights on offense.

Last season, the Dolphins had the second-best offense in the NFL, scoring 29.2 points per game. With the team likely having a target on its back in the 2024 campaign, McDaniel may mix it up and get the squad’s tight ends more involved in his game plan.

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Orel is a proud contributor of Dolphin Nation. He started following the league in the late 1990s and was able to watch Dan Marino's final playing years.