Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi shakes off concussion, ready to play

Jay Ajayi is out of the NFL’s concussion protocol. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—It took at least a week for Jay Ajayi to start feeling like himself again after suffering a concussion early in Dolphins training camp.

Ajayi was cleared from the concussion protocol and did his first full practice this morning, albeit a brief walk-through, which opens the possibility of him playing in Thursday’s preseason game against Baltimore. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if he played and certainly felt well enough to do so.

This was his first documented concussion, and the recovery was especially difficult the first few days.

“It’s just kind of the fog that you get, not being able to concentrate—those kinds of things that happen with concussions,” he said. “That was kind of the most frustrating thing: Some days I would feel good and then maybe the symptoms would come back. So it’s just about taking your time and being patient and going through the protocol and listening to the trainers. Now I’m back on the field and I’m happy.”

Now that he’s playing again, he gives little thought to the hit he took.

The safety that knocked him out, T.J. McDonald, is a longtime friend of Ajayi and they’ve laughed about the incident. “It was just practice, you know?” he said. “He’s a great, great tackler and he got me on a good tackle.” Ajayi feels no lingering effects and has no fears about his long-term health.

What bothered him more than anything was having to stay on the sideline.

“It’s frustrating because you want to be out there with your teammates practicing and grinding,” he said. “It’s the time we’re all working on our craft to be better. But at the same time, it’s better that it happened now during the preseason. We’re not in the regular season yet, so I had time to just make sure I was healthy enough to be back on the field again.”

Ajayi, 24, is one of the team’s most vital players. He made a name for himself last year by rushing for 1,272 yards (the third-highest total in franchise history) and eight touchdowns to earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl.

This could be an even bigger for season for him. Miami coach Adam Gase has talked about getting him 20-25 carries per game this year, and Ajayi has been working toward a greater role in the passing game.

The Dolphins are thin at running back at the moment because Kenyan Drake suffered a concussion Monday. That leaves Damien Williams as the only core player not in question for the Baltimore game.

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