Relationships with McDaniel and Mostert influence Jeff Wilson’s desire to return to the Dolphins – The Mercury News


At the Miami Dolphins, running back Jeff Wilson Jr. will enter free agency next week after spending the second half of the 2022 season in Miami.

He hopes he can stay with the Dolphins. The 194-pound power rusher, who was acquired by the Dolphins at last November’s trade deadline, was reunited with head coach Mike McDaniel and fellow defensive back Raheem Mostert when Miami acquired him from San Francisco for a fifth-round pick.

“This is family,” Wilson told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in a recent phone interview. “These are for life, so staying with them will be amazing.

“Also, being in Miami, the city, I just love everything about it. This will definitely be cool. I can’t make the decision. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t mind one bit, but at the end of the day, I can’t just say it could happen, but I sure would like it to. We’ll see.”

Wilson told WSVN Sunday night that he hopes to get back with the Dolphins. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on the show that there is “mutual interest” between Wilson and Miami.

That lines up with what general manager Chris Grier said at the scouting match last week in Indianapolis about the possibility of simply keeping Wilson along with Mostert, though there are several attractive free agents to look into.

“We’re very open to these guys coming back,” said Grier. “We talked about this scenario where they could be back. We can have the same backfield next year.”

Wilson, who was undrafted by McDaniel with the 49ers, has just over $5 million in career earnings since 2018. The 27-year-old tailback is entitled to earn his money in free agency after averaging 4.9 yards per loading in a 2022 season split between San Francisco and Miami. But money is not the most important thing for Wilson.

“The clock is ticking and I’m not getting any younger,” Wilson said. “Obviously, I want to get paid for what I do. Who doesn’t? That’s just the honest truth, but at the same time, like my dad and everyone else told me, it’s not always about the money. So be open, be patient and let your agent do the work.”

So what is Wilson looking for in his free agent destiny?

“I want to feel at home. I want to feel comfortable. I want to be able to be myself,” he said. “I just want to be able to have fun and play the game I love.”

Incidentally, one coach who famously allows – and even emphasizes – players to be themselves is McDaniel.

“You know he’s worried about his business, but you can tell he wants you to have fun,” Wilson said of McDaniel, who began their relationship with him at a college preschool practice, leading them to spend a time together every year since then.

Winning is a priority for Wilson.

“I want to win a Super Bowl,” he said. “I’ve been to one. I almost had one and took it. I was back in the NFC Championship, I was in the playoffs. So obviously I want that.

“I’ve had this taste, and I’ve been so close. I need it. It’s something I have to have.”

Wilson is certainly comfortable in McDaniel’s out-of-zone racing scheme, but feels he can adapt to anything if he has to switch teams.

“I don’t feel like that will be a problem,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s football, and we’ve been playing different offenses, setups since we were in pee-wee.”

Wilson has been spending time with his family in Texas this offseason, but he also maintains a consistent training regimen.

“It never really stops,” said Wilson, who added that he continues to work on his power. “Obviously, take your time and enjoy yourself, but what has to be done, always has to be done. Nothing will take that away.”

Wilson recapped his eight games with the Dolphins and end-of-season conversations: “It’s a lot of love. Many thanks from both sides. Me thanking them and them thanking me for coming and doing what I do. It’s a mutual respect thing. It’s all love there. It felt like I was with the team, as with all OTAs, boot camp, all that. It felt like I was there the entire season.”


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