We’ve heard how free agents have noticed the changes with the Dolphins and are more open-minded toward considering Miami.
We’ve heard how Dolphins with expiring contracts sense the start of something that makes them want to stick around, even using the hashtag #NewMiami on social media.
Now comes evidence of what we’ve long suspected: that the Dolphins of the prior era (namely, The Philbin Era) were just as influential at driving players away.
Tight end Anthony Fasano was one such player. He enjoyed a successful stint from 2008-12 — on a personal level. On a team level? Not so much.
“That’s one of the reasons I left,” Fasano told The Post. “I just didn’t see the team going in a direction.”
It was going somewhere when he arrived. The Dolphins were 11-5 and surprise division champions under Tony Sparano in 2008. What followed was a stretch in which they were mired in mediocrity, twice going 7-9, a 6-10 (during which Sparano was replaced by interim coach Todd Bowles) and finally 7-9 in 2012, this time under Joe Philbin.
Over that period, other free agents the Dolphins lost include running backs Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and Reggie Bush; safety Yeremiah Bell; cornerback Sean Smith; and tackle Jake Long.
“I knew I was whatever — on the back nine of my career,” said Fasano, now 32. “I was here five years and kind of needed a change of pace.”
So he bolted for Kansas City before later heading to Tennessee. Last month, he came full circle and rejoined the Dolphins to play under coach Adam Gase.
“I’m excited to be back,” Fasano said. “The building feels a lot different.”
Fasano’s Titans beat the Dolphins 30-17 last season, but he could sense a shift. It was Miami’s last loss before a six-game winning streak set the tone for an eventual wild-card berth.
So when it came time to decide his next move, Fasano, who had maintained his offseason home in Fort Lauderdale, didn’t waver. It didn’t hurt that in the interim, he had opened Next Chapter, an addiction and trauma treatment center in Delray Beach.
So once again, Fasano is a Miami Dolphin.
“They definitely have some fight to them and I think Gase is a great coach, a young coach,” he said. “I’m excited about everything going on. He’s no nonsense, there’s no distractions, it’s all about football.
“I think he’s done a great job building the team.”
Fasano signed a one-year contract and is non-committal on how long he’ll play.
“I’m going into my 12th year,” he said. “I think a lot has to do with how I feel physically. I believe we’ll have a good team, so going out one more year and winning a Super Bowl would be ideal. We’re just going to take it year by year.”
Follow Joe Schad on Twitter
Get Dolphins stories right to your Facebook by liking this page