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Dolphins Feeling The Holiday Spirit

Posted Dec 25, 2013

Having Christmas Day off allows players to reflect on time of year.

Family is what comes to mind first around Christmas, and the Miami Dolphins being a football family are set to enjoy this special holiday.

Head Coach Joe Philbin has preached a family atmosphere since arriving on the scene in early 2012, so it was only natural for him to alter his weekly schedule in order to give his players Christmas Day off. They will try to return the favor on Sunday by beating the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium and hopefully landing a playoff berth.

“I just think Christmas comes once a year and when you have an opportunity to spend Christmas with your loved ones you should do it,” said Philbin, who acknowledged that he made the decision a while ago. “I think it’s a doable thing, sometimes we may not be able to do that, but I think when you can do it you should do it.”

That sentiment was not lost on veteran defensive tackle Paul Soliai.

“This is probably the only time I’ll be able to see all of my family, my brothers and sisters, since I’ve been here,” Soliai said. “I’m from all the way out in California so this will be nice instead of just a phone call saying ‘Merry Christmas’ that they’re actually hear. I’m excited to have them here for Christmas and my birthday (December 30th).

So this morning members of the offense, defense and special teams will watch their kids unwrap the presents or for those without kids will exchange gifts with family and or significant others. It’ll be a temporary escape from the daily grind but Sunday’s game won’t be at all far from their minds.

Still, Christmas memories are aplenty, from best gifts received as a child and from a teammate to best gifts given and here some of the Dolphins share them:

“I got a bike when I was 6 that I wanted forever. My dad said I wasn’t getting it, but then I woke up and it was under the tree.” - guard Sam Brenner

“If I could go back to being a kid, if I could do that, I would do that in a heartbeat.” - tight end Charles Clay

“I got a Casio keyboard back in the day and then a Karaoke machine one year. Those are probably the gifts that stand out from my childhood. As far as from a teammate, last year Ray Rice got me one of those televisions with the Internet on it, and the best gifts I’ve given to my teammates were some jewelry and I sent some people on a cruise before.” – left tackle Bryant McKinnie

“I’d probably say the radio I got from Randy Starks with the big speakers is the best gift I’ve gotten, and as for what I’ve given, I would say two years ago when I bought the whole D-line Louis XIV Cognac bottles.” – Soliai

“I got a watch once that was pretty nice. I got a TV once, but they’ve all been really good. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and pick one, but anytime anybody goes out of their way to give you something, obviously you appreciate that because you don’t expect it. At least I don’t, so it’s pretty cool.” – right tackle Tyson Clabo

“Those Louis XIV bottles and the Action Shot camera that Coach Kacy Rodgers gave all of us were the best I’ve gotten. I gave away a 60-inch TV one year but there was a sale at Best Buy. But a great Christmas gift would be to get in the playoffs. That’s my best gift.” – Starks
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