Bumphis Showing He Could Be A Prime Time Player

Posted Aug 5, 2013

Undrafted receiver made the most of his opportunities under the lights in Canton.

Rookie wide receiver Chad Bumphis showed a national television audience Sunday night he’s a young player with a lot of playmaking ability. But it wasn’t anything the Dolphins hadn’t seen in practice.

Bumphis led all receivers in the Hall of Fame Game with five catches for 85 yards, the highest receiving yardage total for a Dolphins player in a preseason game since Aug. 27, 2011 when Brandon Marshall gained 90 yards on only two catches against Tampa Bay.

Bumphis’ first catch was his biggest, as he took a simple slant while Dallas was blitzing, got to the sideline and turned upfield for a 45-yard gain to the Cowboys 31-yard line. Bumphis ended his night with a 20-yard reception on the Dolphins’ last drive to help set up Miami’s last touchdown.

“As a guy trying to make the team, you’ve got to go out and play every quarter,” Bumphis said after the game. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the beginning of the game or the end of the game. If they put you in, they’re giving you an opportunity to go out and show what you can do. And it’s important that you do that when you’re on the field no matter when it is.”

That has been Bumphis’ motto since the start of camp.

Regardless of what has happened in the receiving corps this summer, Bumphis has maintained his focus on just worrying about himself.

“My main thing is learning the offense and getting better every day,” Bumphis said. “Everybody has the same thing going on. Everybody wants to get better; everyone wants to compete for a job. You’ve just got to look at yourself at the end of the day.”

After joining the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent in May, Bumphis would seem to have reason to think he has put himself in clear contention for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Bumphis is part of a large group of young receivers trying to catch on behind established veterans Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson.

“You go into camp with the mindset that it’s open anyway or else you wouldn’t be here,” Bumphis said. “I feel like as long as we continue to do what we know we can do and what got us here, then we’ll be fine.

“The main thing is to compete and get better every day. I think if I do that, then everything else will fall in place.”

Bumphis’ productivity this summer shouldn’t be all that surprising considering he was a record-setting wide receiver at Mississippi State and followed that up by winning MVP honors at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., when he caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Bumphis ended his college career with 2,273 receiving yards, breaking the school record that previously belonged to longtime Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds. The two have become friends, with Moulds serving as a mentor for Bumphis.

One could say it’s the least Moulds can do for the Dolphins after giving them some problems through the years.

Obviously, though, Bumphis possesses some nice skills of his own, starting with the ability to get open.

Bumphis was born in Tupelo, Miss., which also was the birthplace of Elvis Presley. It also was the birthplace of former Saints and Falcons wide receiver Joe Horn, who played in the NFL 12 years before officially retiring in June 2010.

While Bumphis has a long way to go to match Horn, he’s doing his best this summer to get his own NFL career started with a roster spot.

His outing in the Hall of Fame Game wasn’t perfect, mind you, because his deflection of a Matt Moore pass led to an interception that was returned 75 yards for a Dallas touchdown. Overall, though, it was an impressive performance for a young receiver who has had his share of those since the start of training camp.

“Bumphis has caught the ball in practice,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “You watch the film after the day in practice and you sit in your office, the kids get open, he catches the ball.”