DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins held their final training camp practice on Tuesday at the team’s training facility in Davie.
It was a mild day, especially when compared to the morning of fireworks on Monday that culminated in a nasty, helmet-throwing fight between running back Kenyan Drake and defensive tackle Gabe Wright.
A few hours after the bout, Miami released Wright.
Drake didn’t have much to say about the scuffle, chalking it up to a training camp normality.
“Just a misunderstanding in terms of things got out of hand,” he said. “It really is what it is, honestly.”
When asked about the decision to cut Wight, head coach Adam Gase didn’t divulge much information.
“It was time for us to move on,” Gase said. “I don’t really think I need to get into more detail than that. It’s part of the NFL.”
Despite the dustup, Drake said he didn’t expect to see Wright cut loose.
“I was definitely surprised but that’s not a decision I have to make,” Drake said. “That’s a decision that the head man and everybody else upstairs has to make. It was really out of my hands.”
Gase said he discussed the situation with Drake, who was ejected from Miami’s season finale against Buffalo last December after being involved in a similar altercation.
“We had a conversation about a couple things,” Gase said. “For me, I lost my cool a little bit because I was a little frustrated that he got upset because that’s exactly the first thing that popped in my head. It’s a little harder to call plays when he’s out of the game or he’s not even available. We talked about that and at the same time, I think he has a clear understanding of we’re counting on him.”
Drake apologized to his coach following the December 31st ejection and came into the 2018 campaign viewed as Miami’s starting running back.
He finished 2017 as the NFL’s leading rusher over the final five weeks of the season, accumulating 444 yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry during the month of December.
Miami brought in veteran running back Frank Gore to share the load with Drake, but it’s clear that Gase is counting on big things from the 24-year-old former third round pick.
“There’s a lot of people that if he’s not in the game or he’s not on the sideline or we don’t have him because he’s either ejected or he gets hurt because of something like that, he’s letting a lot of people down,” Gase said of Drake. “I think that hit him to where he understands…he understood where I was coming from. I love his emotion, I love his passion. You don’t want to take that away, but at the same time, he’s a really good player and he’s young and we need to have him on the field.”
Training camp fights are normal and expected.
The big surprise in this case is that one of the participants was released the same day.
While there were likely other reasons for Wright’s departure, such as on-field performance, Drake made a good point about always keeping your eyes on the prize and priorities in check.
“You have to always have your teammates best interests at the end of the day, whatever the case may be in terms of mild tempered, me getting involved in something, coming to somebody’s help, me starting something, me trying to finish something,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to always think ahead and think about the future actions of what you do. That’s on and off the field. At the end of the day, you just have to make sure that you put your best foot forward to be who you want to be and who you want to represent for this team and for yourself.”
Another opportunity that the situation provided was for Gase to send a message that anyone putting their own interests above the team’s would not be around very long.
Beyond that, Gase wasn’t interested in discussing Wright’s departure.
“We moved on. It is what it is,” Gase said. “I know you want more, but that’s all I’m saying about it.”
As for Drake, he has no hard feelings for Wright, his now-former teammate.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation and I wish nothing but the best for him,” said Drake, who added, “I don’t have any grudge at all.”