Mike Pouncey played 93 games for the Miami Dolphins over seven seasons.
Pouncey also played in three Pro Bowls, but never appeared in a playoff game. Pouncey was injured before Miami’s playoff loss at Pittsburgh two years ago, so he can’t be blamed for that.
He can, however, be credited for doing everything he could in rehabilitation and training to overcome hip injuries and play all 16 last season. Pouncey was a locker room leader, a heart-and-soul Dolphin, who had hoped to finish his career here.
Pouncey’s release brought with it some sadness in and around the Dolphins facility on Thursday.
But like his fellow Pro Bowl Dolphins who have been jettisoned — Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh — Pouncey did not lead Dolphins teams to playoff success. It’s part of the reason why all these changes are occurring.
Of course it’s not all their fault. But none of those players won a single playoff game as a Dolphins player, either.
Suh is 0-3 in his playoff career, including two losses with the Detroit Lions. And we should not forget to credit Ajayi for his 3-0 postseason record and Super Bowl ring earned last season (with the Philadelphia Eagles).
But the Dolphins have sought in free agency to add leaders. They want players who are considered good teammates. And they are pleased to have added players who have contributed to enormous team success.
Consider this: wide receiver Danny Amendola and Josh Sitton have each played in 13 career playoff games. Amendola is 10-3 with the Patriots, and is the owner of two Super Bowl rings. Sitton is 7-6 with the Packers, and the owner of a Super Bowl ring.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a good friend of Gase’s, has called Amendola “one of the all-time great teammates.”
Teammates had great respect for Sitton’s intelligence, work ethic and determination in both Green Bay and Chicago.
Both of these players has played on the biggest stage and flourished.
Amendola had 5 catches, 48 yards and 1 touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl defeat of Seattle. Then he had 8 catches, 78 yards and 1 touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl defeat of Atlanta.
And Amendola, though he’s 32, had a standout postseason this year, averaging 116 receiving yards and catching 2 touchdowns in three playoff games, as he again led the Patriots to the Super Bowl. Time and time again, Amendola has delivered in the fourth quarter of postseason games. He’s clutch.
Sitton helped lead the Packers to the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons. And he claimed a Super Bowl ring in the 2010 season, protecting Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
Sitton is 31, only one year younger than Amendola, so these are no spring chickens. But as Gase and the Dolphins attempt to alter the chemistry in Miami’s locker room, these two will be counted on to help lead the way.
Sitton will be leaned on to help guide talented left tackle Laremy Tunsil, in a way Branden Albert did during Tunsil’s rookie season. Amendola will be looked to as a mature, steadying voice in the wide receiver room for players like DeVante Parker, who still has not bloomed.
Even additions like Albert Wilson, Robert Quinn and Daniel Kilgore have playoff experience, with a total of 12 playoff appearances and 5 playoff wins.
The players Miami has already added in free agency were selected for good reason. Not only their talent. But also their experience, on-field success, and track record as good teammates.
Since the middle of last season, Miami has shed four players with 12 total Pro Bowl honors.
Some of the players they’ve added have at least experienced winning at the highest level.