DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins added to their already strong special teams unit with the signing of linebacker Trevor Reilly off the New England Patriots practice squad this week.
Reilly spent nine weeks with the Patriots but was previously one of the top special teamers with the New York Jets, recording 20 tackles in 29 games.
“You have to want to,” Reilly said Tuesday. “When you’re in college and you’re an All-American, you’re nothing thinking, ‘I can’t wait to be a special teamer at the next level.’ So for a lot of guys it’s a wake-up call that, hey this is going to be your role, at least for a little bit. So having that desire to own the role, that’s the first thing. Number two is being assignment-sound. Making sure you know what you’re doing. And you can execute the game plan.”
As a senior at Utah in 2013, Reilly had 100 tackles, 16.5 for loss and 9 sacks.
Yet, somehow, he fell to the seventh round, selected by the Jets.
“I slipped in the draft,” Reilly said. “I thought I was going to be a third-, fourth-, fifth-round guy. I slipped to the seventh. I had to prove myself. I had a chip on my shoulder. Special teams is kind of where I’ve made my mark. I had a couple coaching changes. I would say biggest thing for me is trying to be versatile. Trying to do whatever they ask me to do, special teams, defense, multiple positions.”
The Dolphins waived former Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil to make room for Reilly.
“We felt like (Reilly) was a guy that would fit into our program and contribute, whether it be on defense or special teams,” coach Adam Gase said. “He was a good fit for us. Our personnel guys are always looking throughout the league and seeing if there’s anybody that could fit into what we’re doing this late in the season. We felt like he was a guy that could help us out.”
Reilly, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, said he hopes he can help Miami in its “playoff push.”
Reilly added that coaches in New York and New England spoke highly of Miami special teams coach Darren Rizzi.
“They’re well coached,” Reilly said. “Their guy Rizzi has an amazing reputation everywhere I’ve been. The coaches have had nothing but good things to say about him and it shows. He’s been through three coaching staffs here. So first thing is guys are coached well. They play hard here. They fly to the ball and they know their assignments.”
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