‘Travesty’ and trepidation: Past, present Miami Dolphins sweating out Jarvis Landry drama

O.J. McDuffie celebrates a first down for the Dolphins in 1993. (Richard Graulich / Palm Beach Post)

HOLLYWOOD — One was a featured back for the Dolphins, the other, Dan Marino’s go-to man when it came to moving the chains.

Together, Terry Kirby and O.J. McDuffie likely sound like many fans sweating out the ever-increasing prospect of the Dolphins parting with Jarvis Landry.

“It would be a travesty,” Kirby said.

“If you let a guy like that go, you better have a contingency plan,” McDuffie said.

Terry Kirby had 1,264 combined yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 1993. (Getty Images)

They were two of the Dolphins past and present surveyed at the gala dinner hosted by the Jason Taylor Foundation at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The Dolphins have made Landry their franchise player but have granted him and his agent permission to try to facilitate a trade. Those at the gala dinner did not appear to find that prospect appetizing.

McDuffie is the last person who needs to be convinced of Landry’s value. There was a time that McDuffie was Landry, fearless in traffic in pursuit of first downs. It’s no coincidence both answer to the nickname Juice.

“They’d call me a possession receiver,” McDuffie said. “I say, ‘Yeah, I make sure we keep possession of the football. And that’s what it’s all about — moving the chains, doing the dirty work.”

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Bottom line, from McDuffie’s perspective: “I would do everything I can if I were them to keep him around.”

It’s a no-brainer for Kirby, selected in the third round in 1993, 53 picks after first-rounder McDuffie.

“Why wouldn’t you keep him here, because he’s the nucleus of your team?” Kirby said. “People want to come here because of him.”

Losing Landry would leave a receiving corps of Kenny Stills, a proven deep threat, and a lot of question marks, not the least of which is DeVante Parker.

“Can anybody go inside?” McDuffie said. “Inside, you can’t just be fast or quick or whatever. You’ve got to be really smart on the inside because so much happens, a lot faster on the inside than it does on the outside. So you’ve got to have somebody who can handle all that.”

Running back Ronnie Brown was the second overall pick in 2005 and had 1,915 yards his first two seasons. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

There was a time last season when coach Adam Gase called his offense “garbage.” And that was with Landry, the team’s co-MVP two seasons ago.

“If you don’t have a long ball, what else do you have? You’ve got possession offense,” Kirby said. “It’s mind-boggling.”

Ronnie Brown, a former running back and 2005 first-round pick, said losing Landry would muck up an already tricky situation because quarterback Ryan Tannehill missed 2017 with a knee injury.

“Now he’s going to have to have a new receiver that he’s not familiar with,” Brown said.

Landry showed up for optional workouts last offseason in a good-faith gesture he hoped would be rewarded.

“As a player, you want to send the right message to your teammates, like, ‘Hey, I want to be here,’ ” Brown said. “You want the organization to receive that and kind of credit you for that.”

Taylor, the host of the evening, experienced tough negotiations himself. He too was a Dolphins draftee who performed beyond expectations only to eventually wake up one day and learn what he had to offer didn’t match the organization’s view of what it could offer him.

“Having been on that side as a franchise player, and having been on that side in being traded and released, it’s a business for both parties,” Taylor said. “We only get a couple of cracks at this apple if we’re lucky.”

So Taylor has empathy for both sides.

“Landry has done some unprecedented things in this league in his first four years,” Taylor said. “He’s very deserving of a contract and some stability, and the Dolphins also have an obligation to control their cap. There’s not a ton of money out there right now cap-wise, but Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier and those guys will work it out and figure out what’s best for the organization.”

Safe to say there are plenty in the locker room who hope what’s best for the Dolphins is figuring out a way to bring back No. 14.

“Jarvis is going to get what he’s earned in this league and that’s the way it’s going to go,” center Mike Pouncey said. “I think he wants to be in Miami and he’ll be a Miami Dolphin.

“I hope we sign him back.”

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