The 26-year-old Fort Pierce native and North Miami Beach High School graduate was a second-round pick (33rd pick overall) of the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft and started 64 of the 65 games he was active. At 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds, Delmas is a good compliment to Dolphins strong safety
“I’m excited to announce the addition of Louis Delmas, safety, to the Miami Dolphins. He’s a player that we’ve been targeting for a while, brought him in on a visit last week and we’re just excited to add him to our secondary,” Hickey said on a conference call with the South Florida media. “This is a player that plays with great passion and love for the game, has a physical presence and has great play-making ability and we just feel like he’s going to bring a lot of things to the table as a Miami Dolphin. It’s great to bring a local guy from North Miami Beach High School back not only to this community but to the Miami Dolphins and we’re looking for great things from Louis and we’re just excited to get him on the field and on our team.”
Delmas is coming off of his most productive season as a pass defender with three interceptions and eight passes defensed to go along with 64 tackles (48 solo) and two sacks. He has a six career interceptions, 24 pass breakups, five sacks and 331 tackles (239 solo), and as a rookie in 2009 he returned one interception 101 yards for a touchdown.
Miami inked Delmas to a one-year contract, which is similar to the deal given to Grimes last year when he was coming off of an Achilles injury. The Western Michigan grad is looking at this as an opportunity to resurrect his career in front of family and friends.
“Of course this is a very important year for me,” said Delmas, who earned All-American honors as a senior in college with a team-high 111 tackles and four interceptions. “Last year I signed a two-year deal that had been cut to a one-year and this year I signed a one-year deal that can definitely lead to a multi-year deal. So I’ve got a lot to prove to myself, a lot to prove to my fans, a lot to prove to my family and a lot to prove to the organization and how I would do that is to come in here and be myself, staying healthy, being a ball hawk and going out there and making plays and winning games.”
Having spent his entire career with one team, Delmas understands the nuances of changing uniforms and coaching staffs and all he has to do is look at what Grimes did after spending his first six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He knows he has questions to answer about his own health, with injuries costing him half of the 2012 seasons and five games in 2011.
Even though he has played mostly free safety, Delmas made it a point throughout his time in Detroit to learn both positions and to showcase an ability to be physical and handle the responsibilities of strong safety. He doesn’t leave much to the imagination to when it comes to describing his style of play.
“It’s like turning on the TV and watching a car race and watching that one dude run into that brick wall full speed and actually break that brick wall,” said Delmas, who also has two forced fumbles in his career and racked up 94 tackles (65 solo) as a rookie. “That’s the surprise I’m here for and that’s the surprise I’m going to give them. I’m labeled as a free safety but deep down inside of my heart I’m a strong. I love to bang, I love to be in the action and I love to make plays.”
Still, the added bonus of returning to familiar surroundings and the motivation that comes with trying to earn a better contract like Grimes just did could play in Delmas’ favor. He left a strong initial impression on Hickey and also left with a strong one of the organization.
“The players and the coaching staff here are one of the best and I see myself winning here,” Delmas said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play amongst the best and with the best (on Miami’s defense). We have Pro Bowl type players on that defense and just me being around them seeing how they practice, seeing how they perform and seeing their preparation going into the game will make me that much better as a player. Not only am I home but it’s a dream come true to not only play in the NFL but to also play in your backyard and the Miami Dolphins are the best fit for me.”
Delmas closed out the conference call by sending out his heartfelt condolences to the family of Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, who passed away late Sunday at the age of 88. He thanked Ford for giving him his first opportunity in the NFL.