OXNARD, Calif.—There’s been a lot of bonding going on lately with the Miami Dolphins. More than they originally intended, in fact.
The real “team chemistry” venture was supposed to be the week in Philadelphia last month when they held joint practices with the Eagles, but Hurricane Irma created a new adventure by prompting the team to relocate to Oxnard, Calif., for the week as it prepares for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
The move, which has the Dolphins staying and practicing at a run-of-the-mill suburban hotel, has created ample opportunities for newer players to get to know the rest of the team better. In the case of Williams Hayes, who arrived via trade in March, it means plenty of chances to talk about his legendary theories.
Beyond football, Hayes is well-known in the NFL for his takes on dinosaurs (they don’t exist), mermaids (they might), the moon landing (seems suspicious, to say the least) and various other topics.
He finally convinced someone this week, by the way: Mike Pouncey. Which theory has he bought into? All of them, Hayes claimed.
“Yeah,” Hayes joked after practice today. “He really don’t know too much anyway, so I’ve had a chance to really educate him. Pouncey’s definitely on board with everything—just life. I’m just teaching him how to be a man. That’s it. Those life lessons that he didn’t get growing up, I’m doing that for him now.”
In all seriousness, the return to the Los Angeles area has been terrific for Hayes. His family still lives in Manhattan Beach because they didn’t want his son to change schools, and he’s made some significant connections with his new football family.
He made it sound as though players haven’t left the hotel much, so they’ve been hanging out in various rooms most of the week. Much of the team has been here since Friday.
“The more time you can spend with the guys, you create better relationships with everybody,” Hayes said. “It’s been real fun being able to talk to a lot more guys and enjoy each other’s company. We’ll probably get something good out of it in the long run.
“It’s about football and really just getting a chance to know my teammates—not on a silly level, but really another level beyond just trying to entertain everybody. I’ve been here six months, so I’m trying to figure out my teammates and see how they feel on an everyday basis.”
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