Miami Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi: Patriots winning again ‘puts a fire inside of me for sure’

Jay Ajayi put up the third-biggest rushing season in team history.  (Getty Images)

Jay Ajayi put up the third-biggest rushing season in team history. (Getty Images)

A breakthrough season isn’t all that is motivating Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi as he looks toward 2017.

Seeing the New England Patriots rally to win the Super Bowl is stoking the fire, too.

“It’s definitely motivating,” Ajayi said Thursday. “It puts a fire inside of me for sure, just because basically the Super Bowl came through us. It came through our division. The winner is in our division and knowing that reality, it makes me want to do anything possible to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t continue to happen.”

The Dolphins went 10-6 this season under coach Adam Gase and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2008. That wasn’t enough to suit Ajayi.

“Here at the Miami Dolphins we’re able to create a new culture this past season of what we can do,” he said. “It’s about building off of that.”

Ajayi isn’t going into this with a target on New England, however.

“I don’t think it’s about catching them,” he said. “I think it’s about focusing on ourselves.” He said if the Dolphins bring their ‘A’ game, “We can challenge anybody, including the Patriots.”

Ajayi, who rushed for 1,272 yards and made the Pro Bowl, said he will again work with trainer Tony Villani at the XPE Sports Academy in Boca Raton this summer. Ajayi said he plans on “fine-tuning” and “completing my game even more” to build off 2016.

Ajayi spoke at an event in the team’s bubble that was a combination football clinic and healthy eating demonstration run by Citi as part of a joint effort to feed children in need.

During football season, Ajayi doesn’t have to sweat details about his meals since players are fed well in the team’s cafeteria. It’s in the off-season that they have to fend for themselves.

“I would say that I’m a quality cook when I actually get myself off the couch and into the kitchen,” Ajayi said. “I could be lazy at times. Going to get the groceries — that’s another mission. But when I get in there, I enjoy preparing food.”

Any specialties?

“Italian food,” Ajayi said. “Different kind of pastas. I enjoy those kind of dishes.”

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