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Daryn Colledge had just spent 30 minutes signing autographs along the practice field fence after a grueling 2 ½ hour workout. The heat was pounding down upon him like a hard-charging defensive tackle; his jersey was off and the coolness of the locker room seemed so inviting.
And then I was there to intercept him. “Got a few minutes to play 10 questions with me?” I asked, not knowing what the reaction would be.
This 310-pound man, who will solidify the Dolphins at left guard this season, simply looked me in the eye. “No problem. I’ve got nothing to do right now. Let’s sit down and talk.”
As I exhaled, I led Colledge to a picnic table in the shade and, for the next 15 minutes, he answered every question with great thought, intelligence and candidness. What an impressive man! Now I understand why the Dolphins signed him as soon as they realized more interior help was needed on the offensive line. What I don’t understand is how he could have been available so late in the process. As you read how he answered the 10 questions, you’ll understand what I mean.
1. You never missed a game in your eight seasons. Not a single game. What’s the secret?
DC: A whole lot of hard work. A whole lot of luck. A whole lot of stubborness. You can’t always play this game at 100 percent, but I guess I’ve been lucky enough to do it. My injuries have come close to bye weeks. I always felt I have a responsibility to my teammates and coaches to be out there. If there is any way, I’m going to play. I fractured my leg last year and kept playing. The first couple of weeks I struggled with it, but by week four it kind of numbed up on me and I was fine.
2. You played for Joe Philbin when he was offensive line coach and offensive coordinator of the Packers? Is he much different today as head coach of the Dolphins?
DC: From a lowly offensive line coach to head coach of the Dolphins, he hasn’t changed a whole lot. He’s always a man of principle and that’s what he is today. He’s the kind of guy who wants to do it the right way every time and I think he ingrained that in a bunch of young guys including me. He’s a big reason I have never missed a game. He always said do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
3. What are the things you bring to this offensive line?
DC: I’ve always been an intelligent player. I’ve never been the flashiest or the fastest. I’ve never been the strongest. I find myself in the right position a lot. I’m good at reading defenses and I’m on the field all the time. If I’m going to be here at the beginning of the year, then you should feel confident I’ll be here at the end of the year.
4. There are five new starters on this line. How imposing a challenge is that?
DC: It’s harder on the outside then it is on the inside. Depending on the lineup we have out there, we have a lot of experience on the offensive line. I’ve got a good rapport with the tackles. Coaches are going to keep rotating guys. By week three, I think we will have settled into a clear starting five. Then we’ve got to stay healthy the whole season. If we can keep five guys on the field healthy, we have a chance to be a special offensive line, and I really mean that.
5. Toughest guy you ever blocked and why?
DC: (Laugh). It’s such a cliché, but the toughest guy you go up against every day is yourself. But to answer your question, there are so many talented guys out there. I played against Tommy Harris in his prime. I played against Vince Wilfork in his prime. Kyle Williams in Buffalo is so tough. It is so hard these days, you go up against an All-Pro every week. And the guy who isn’t an All-Pro is trying to become one.
6. Tell us some things about yourself? What are your passions? What are you like away from football?
DC: I’m a big adventure guy. I like scuba diving. I like flying. I’m a snowboarder. I like to ski. I’m as active as I can be. I’ve got a passion for wine. Me and a couple of buddies who played in Green Bay own a small wine label. I’ve got a bunch of hobbies. I’m kind of eclectic.
7. Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times last season. Are there any assurances you can give to Dolphins fans about the protection Tannehill will receive this season?
DC: Everybody guarantees it’s going to be better. We have a better scheme. Ryan is more aware. As an offensive line, we can’t allow 50 sacks. That can’t happen. We’re going to get the ball out faster. We’re going to protect better. Everybody is going to do a better job and we’ll have a better running game, which will take some of the pressure off Ryan.
8. You attended North Pole High School in Alaska. The butt of jokes?
DC: It’s just like you think it would be. It’s North Pole Alaska. We have candy cane light poles. We have Santa Claus everywhere. It was a great place to grow up as a kid with all the fishing, hunting and camping. I don’t know if I’ll ever live there again because it’s a place all on its own, but it was special growing up there.
9. You are 32 years old. How much longer will your body and mind allow you to play?
DC: I really don’t know. That’s a question you’ve got ask yourself every time you go to camp. During the offseason you think you can play five more years. Then by the end of the first week of camp you think you can play only five more days. It’s tough to tell. Very rarely does a guy get to choose his destiny in this league. You just go out and work hard and then one day someone will tap you on the shoulder and say you’re done. Until that day comes, I’ve got enough to keep going.
10. You’ve played with some very good teams. You played on a Super Bowl champion. What do you think is the real potential of this Dolphins team?
DC: This team can make the playoffs. There is no doubt in my mind. Any team that can make the playoffs always has a chance. Don’t forget, my Super Bowl team in Green Bay was a wild card team. We have a great defense here. We have quality special teams and we have an offense that’s heading in the right direction. We have a lot of real good playmakers. I just feel fortunate to be here.
(On Wednesday, AC in the AM answers fans questions.)
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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