Dol­phins ex­tend O’Leary’s con­tract

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY BARRY JACK­SON bjack­[email protected]­ami­her­ald.com

In the weeks af­ter the Dol­phins signed for­mer Bills tight end Nick O’Leary to their prac­tice squad on Sept. 20, coach Adam Gase said more play­ers asked him when O’Leary would be pro­moted to the 53-man ros­ter than any prac­tice squad player he has ever been around.

O’Leary re­warded the Dol­phins with solid al­laround play dur­ing the past two months, and the Dol­phins re­warded O’Leary on Sat­ur­day by ex­tend­ing his con­tract through 2019. He will make $1.5 mil­lion next sea­son, with $500,000 guar­an­teed.

The deal was agreed to, but not yet signed, as of early Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon.

O’Leary has seven re­cep­tions for 77 yards and a touch­down in seven games, in­clud­ing four starts, since he was pro­moted to the 53-man ros­ter on Oct. 5.

He was un­em­ployed for nearly three weeks af­ter be­ing cut Sept. 1 by the Bills, who se­lected him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft out of Florida State. O’Leary, the grand­son of golf le­gend Jack Nick­laus, had 32 catches for 473 yards and two touch­downs in three years with the

Bills.

O’Leary, who at­tended Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gar­dens, this sea­son is rated 22nd among 69 tight ends by Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

“He does ev­ery­thing well,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dow­ell Log­gains said.

O’Leary’s sign­ing gives the Dol­phins three in- ex­pen­sive tight ends un­der con­tract for 2019. Mike Gesicki, the team’s sec­ond-round pick in April’s draft is set to make $780,542 next sea­son, while Durham Smythe, the team’s fourth-round rookie, will make $570,000.

A.J. Derby, who has played in four games and dealt with a foot in­jury much of the year, will be a free agent af­ter the sea­son, as will MarQueis Gray, who was the pro­jected starter in Au­gust be­fore sus­tain­ing a torn Achilles in a prac­tice days be­fore the reg­u­lar-sea­son opener.

Speak­ing of O’Leary, Gesicki, Gray and Derby, Gase said last week: “I like all four of those guys. Ev­ery week is a tough de­ci­sion. If they’re all four healthy, that’s a tough de­ci­sion. You al­most want to fig­ure out, how do I get them all up? Be­cause they all can do some­thing of­fen- sively. They all can do spe­cial teams stuff. There’s a lot of value in that room.”

But the Dol­phins haven’t got­ten big re­ceiv­ing num­bers from the po­si­tion. In ad­di­tion to O’Leary’s seven catches for 77 yards, Gesicki has 18 re­cep­tions for 156 yards, Derby three for 48 and Smythe two for 27.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CHIEFS?

Ka­reem Hunt went from the Kansas City Chiefs’ prac­tice field to look­ing for a job in about six hours, a spec­tac­u­lar fall for the NFL’s reign­ing rush­ing cham­pion.

The Pro Bowl run­ning back had been pre­par­ing for a game at Oak­land when, un­be­knownst to him, a months-old video sur­faced on­line. The footage from a Cleve­land ho­tel se­cu­rity cam­era showed Hunt shov­ing and kick­ing a woman, with po­lice ul­ti­mately re­spond­ing. No charges were filed.

The Chiefs im­me­di­ately sent Hunt home as the video from TMZ ripped across so­cial me­dia. An or­ga­ni­za­tion that prides it­self on pro­vid­ing sec­ond chances said in a state­ment late Fri­day it had re­leased the 23-year-old star.

The ques­tion now for both the Chiefs and Hunt is sim­ple: What’s next?

The Chiefs (9-2) are bar­rel­ing to­ward the No. 1 seed in the play­offs, and the loss of their lead­ing rusher is sub­stan­tial. Hunt al­ready had run for more than 800 yards and had 14 to­tal touch­downs, help­ing Kansas City form one of the league’s most dy­namic of­fenses.

His abil­ity to churn out yards on the ground helped the Chiefs put away sev­eral games. His abil­ity to catch passes out of the back­field had been just as use­ful.

Yet the falloff to Spencer Ware isn’t that sig­nif­i­cant.

The Chiefs’ backup was the un­ques­tioned starter head­ing into last sea­son, even af­ter the team made Hunt their third-round pick. It wasn’t un­til Ware — whose skill-set closely mir­rors that of Hunt — went down with a sea­so­nend­ing knee in­jury in the pre­sea­son that the rookie took over.

“There was a ques­tion whether he would be able to come back from that in­jury. It was a pretty tough in­jury to come back from,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said re­cently. “The last cou­ple weeks he has played good foot­ball. You can see where he is more con­fi­dent each week here.”

CHARLES TRAINOR JR. [email protected]­ami­her­ald.com

Dol­phins tight end Nick O’Leary (83) cel­e­brates his first quar­ter-touch­down with Danny Amen­dola on Oct. 14

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.