PHILADELPHIA—As far as disappointments go, this is one of the biggest: Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes did not speak to the media today, the day of the solar eclipse.
Hayes, who has theories on many scientific matters, was not available to discuss the rare event, which took place this afternoon following the team’s joint practice with the Eagles. However, longtime friend Chris Long was on hand to give some insight.
“He probably thinks the government is orchestrating the eclipse,” said Long, a Philadelphia defensive end.
Long and Hayes played together from 2012 through ’15 with the St. Louis Rams before Long went to New England last year. Long considers Hayes one of his most beloved friends in the league.
Long described Hayes as one of the best locker room guys he’s ever encountered, saying he has a unique way of lightening the mood but also raising the intensity of practices. He’s also enjoyable, of course, because of those theories.
Once, to mess with Hayes, Long got him some dinosaur figurines as a gift because Hayes is adamant that they never existed.
“I don’t know 100 percent if he’s serious about mermaids, but I know he’s 100 percent serious about dinosaurs,” Long said. “He thinks the fossils were planted. Some people are just so convinced of what they believe that they’re not trying to convince you because it doesn’t matter what you think. It’s just reality for him.
“So when we were in St. Louis I bought him a set of dinosaur toys and put them in his locker, and until the day we left he kept them there because he said, ‘I can’t bring these home to my kids because I don’t want them to believe in that fake (stuff).’”
Long made clear, though, that there’s much more to Hayes than his entertaining beliefs and antics. He and Hayes spent 24 hours living homelessly in St. Louis in 2015 to spread awareness of the issue and raise money for St. Patrick Center, an organization that works to empower homeless people in that city.
Apparently, that kind of effort is right in line with who Hayes is.
“He’s got the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever played with,” Long said. “Every Christmas he was thinking of ways that we could go help people under the radar, buying furniture for people in low-income housing, bringing toys for kids for Christmas, and it was never like, ‘Where are the cameras?’ It was always, ‘Let’s just go do this.’”
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