Dolphins’ Jermon Bushrod stares down possible final chapter of career

Jermon Bushrod has plenty going on in his life besides football. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—Jermon Bushrod knew what he signed up for when he bypassed retirement for one more season on the Dolphins’ offensive line. As an 11-year veteran, he’s fully familiar with brutal nature of the game.

But that doesn’t make this any easier.

Bushrod has been inactive for three straight games with a significant foot injury and seen the o-line play well in his absence with Jesse Davis replacing him at right guard. When he returned to the practice field today, he did so realizing it’s not automatic that he’ll resume his role as the starter. If that ends up being reality, it’ll undoubtedly be hard to accept.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Things have been (going well), and that’s the tough part when you’re not in the lineup. That’s how other people get their opportunities, and you have to figure out what the coaching staff wants to do. If they feel like when I get back I can help out, that’s out of my paygrade.

“Would I be comfortable with (coming off the bench)? I don’t know. I can’t answer that, because I’ve been a starter and played in this league for a long time. I’ve taken a backseat once, but I don’t know.”

It’s been difficult watching from the sideline as the Dolphins kept their season alive with wins over the Broncos and Patriots the last two weeks. For those games, as well as the loss at New England before them, Miami used Sam Young at right tackle and Davis in Bushrod’s spot.

If the Dolphins want to reinsert Bushrod into the starting lineup, they would likely bump Davis to right tackle.

The rest of the line is solidified with center Mike Pouncey, left guard Ted Larsen and left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Bushrod didn’t fully participate in Thursday’s practice, but did get enough movement to test out his foot and get a gauge for how well it’s recovering. He does not want to play until he’s certain he can do so at full strength and be an asset rather than a liability.

“We’re just trying to work the kinks out and figure out where we are,” he said. “I gotta take it day by day, see how I felt, assess it and then figure out what we need to do for it to get better. As long as we’re continuing to go up, that’s gonna make me happy.”

Bushrod, 33, must also wrestle with the possibility that these final three games—or fewer if he’s not healthy enough to be active Sunday at Buffalo—could be his last chances to play in the NFL.

While he’s not ready to discuss that publicly yet, it’s logical to believe it’s on his mind. Bushrod’s taken his fair share of bruises over 11 seasons (knee, shoulder and foot in the last two years alone), he’s got a family and Spotrac reports his career earnings at more than $40 million.

However, he said he’s not viewing these last three games through that lens.

“I don’t really want to think about it like that,” Bushrod said. “Just week by week, day by day, I’m fighting to get better. If I can get back out there, that’s my plan. I’m gonna keep fighting to get back out there, then we’ll think about those kinds of things at an appropriate time.”

[Dolphins’ stunning upset of Patriots makes everything worth it]

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