Thursday, December 26, 2013
Dolphins are rooting for the Bengals
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- For one week only, the Cincinnati Bengals have 53 new fans within the locker room of the Miami Dolphins.
There are four potential scenarios for the Dolphins to get into the playoffs Sunday as the final wild card in the AFC. The easiest would be for Cincinnati to beat the Baltimore Ravens (8-7), and Miami (8-7) to beat the New York Jets.
That would catapult the Dolphins into the postseason for the first time since 2008. Miami would snag the wild card while the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens would be on the outside looking in this season.
For Dolphins players like Dannell Ellerbe and Bryant McKinnie, who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore, getting to the postseason over the Ravens would have extra meaning.
“It would be lovely to get into the playoffs -- period,” Ellerbe said. “But for us to go and [Baltimore] not to go would be very, very special.”
Ellerbe spent his first four seasons with the Ravens, and left in free agency. Miami signed Ellerbe to a $35 million contract last March.
Ellerbe said he has a few good friends on the Bengals, such as Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green and injured defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
“They know I want them to win,” Ellerbe said.
Former Raven Bryant McKinnie, who was traded to Miami in October, has been trash-talking with his friend and former teammate -- running back Ray Rice of Baltimore -- the past few weeks.
“I texted him after their game [against New England], because one of their players is staying in the house that I have up there,” McKinnie said. “I said, ‘Can you make sure he’s out by January 1st, because ya’ll aren’t going to the playoffs.’ ... I don’t think he really caught onto what I said. He just went along with the conversation.”
There are other scenarios where teams like the San Diego Chargers (8-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) could get the AFC’s final wild card. But there is a strong chance it will come down to Miami or Baltimore.
Ellerbe has never missed the playoffs during his five-year career, and wants to keep that streak alive with the Dolphins.
“It would really be in my career, because in high school I always went to the playoffs,” Ellerbe said. “I’d be devastated. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”