Before this season, the Miami Dolphins traded offensive tackle Branden Albert to the Jacksonville Jaguars and also acquired tight end Julius Thomas in a separate deal with the club.
Albert never played for the Jaguars, retiring instead, and one has to wonder if Albert had any idea that the team was so talented it had a chance to advance to next weekend’s AFC championship game.
Thomas didn’t have much of an impact and isn’t expected to return to Miami next season.
Football is a small world and so there is almost always cross-over between each of the 32 NFL franchises.
The Dolphins haven’t played the Jaguars in the last two seasons, but when they did last meet, in 2015, Dolphins offensive tackle Sam Young started for the Jags. Albert was at left tackle for Miami.
The Jags won. And their offensive line didn’t allow a sack.
If you are a diehard Dolphins fans, you’ll see some familiar faces in the AFC Championship Game, featuring Jacksonville at New England, and the NFL Championship Game, featuring Minnesota at Philadelphia.
It will likely annoy you. But such is life. NFL players trade teams. Sometimes they even get traded (Jay Ajayi, Eagles) to a team with a great chance to advance deep into the playoffs.
[RELATED STORY: Analysis: Why would the Miami Dolphins trade Jay Ajayi?]
There are a handful of Dolphins who have played for the teams left standing. For example, linebacker Kiko Alonso (Eagles), defensive end Andre Branch (Jaguars), tight end MarQuies Gray (Vikings), safety Nate Allen (Eagles) and the aforementioned Thomas (Jaguars) and Young (Jaguars).
There are always random connections between organizations. Consider the Jaguars and Dolphins. Dan Marino’s last game came in a playoff loss to the Jaguars in January of 2000. Who finished that game at quarterback for Jacksonville?
None other than Jay Fiedler, who still is the last quarterback to lead the Dolphins to a playoff win, in December of 2000.
If that wasn’t painful enough to read, here are some players, coaches and executives with Miami tied who you may notice on the field, or on the sidelines, on championship Sunday:
- Eagles running back Jay Ajayi — Dolphins Pro Bowler, 2016
- Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan — Dolphins practice squad, 2011-2012
- Vikings general manager Rick Spielman — Dolphins GM and VP role, 2000-2004
- Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano — head coach of Dolphins, 2008-2011
- Jaguars assistant offensive line coach Tony Sparano, Jr. — Dolphins quality control coach, 2011
- Vikings center Joe Berger — played for Dolphins, 2005-2006 and 2009-2010
- Eagles coach Doug Pederson — played quarterback for Dolphins, 1991-1995
- Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne — played for Dolphins, 2008-2011
- Jaguars coach Doug Marrone — played for Dolphins in 1987
- Patriots running back Mike Gillislee — played for Dolphins, 2013