Former Boise State running back Jay Ajayi remembers where he came from. Finally given the opportunity, he’s fully prepared to show an audience across the pond that he is one of the NFL’s best.
Ajayi, now a Pro Bowl running back for the Miami Dolphins, appeared on “SportsCenter” on Tuesday morning on behalf of the NFL UK. Ajayi, entering his third NFL season, was born in England and still speaks with a British accent. His Dolphins will play in one of four NFL contests in London this season when Miami takes on the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 1 at Wembley Stadium.
“It’s special,” Ajayi said in the interview. “When we first went over there my rookie year, I didn’t get to play because I was injured. So this year is a whole different story. To have my family, friends, everyone has just been calling, getting ready for that game in October. I’m super excited for it.”
Ajayi had a breakout 2016 campaign after a lackluster rookie season where he logged just 49 carries in nine games as a fifth-round draft pick. After carrying the ball 31 times over the first five weeks of last season, Ajayi took off, rushing for a total of 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns. He recorded three 200-yard games, including back-to-back efforts against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. He became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards or more in consecutive weeks, joining Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson and Earl Campbell and former Dolphin Ricky Williams. He was named the No. 69 player on the NFL’s Top 100 list.
“I went through a few challenges and adversity throughout the season. But just to be where I am right now, I definitely feel blessed. I’m excited about the future for myself, the future for my team as well,” Ajayi said. “Just the battle with myself, personally. And just knowing what I wanted to do with my career and where I wanted to go. I just basically put my head down and just focused ... and waited for my opportunity.”
Of course, no interview with Ajayi would be complete without talk of pickle juice. The “SportsCenter” hosts opened up the conversation by bringing up the illustrious video of Ajayi drinking a bottle of pickle juice on the Boise State sidelines in 2013. He laughed and put any hopes of a pickle comeback to an end.
“The pickle juice is done. It was a great resource in college,” Ajayi, who said the juice helped with cramping, said. “But no more pickle juice in the NFL.”