Hickey Feels Right At Home In The Middle Of Free Agency

Posted Mar 12, 2014

New Dolphins General Manager had a strong first foray.

Nearly two decades of being in the shadows during the run-up to free agency and the NFL Draft prepared Dennis Hickey well for when it was time to be out in front. He seems comfortable in that role now.

Hickey has had a strong first foray into free agency as the new General Manager for the Miami Dolphins, landing three prized players in the trenches in left tackle Branden Albert and defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Randy Starks. It hadn’t even been a full 24 hours since the 2014 NFL year and free agency officially began and Hickey was basking in the glow of adding those two new players to the roster and re-signing Starks.

“It’s very exciting and it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people throughout the whole building,” said Hickey, who spent his first 18 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a number of different roles. “Just the collaboration that we’ve had and to work together to this point to be able to bring quality players and quality people onto our team, we’ve very excited and we’re excited about the future. Free agency lasts pretty much all through the spring and obviously we’ll get back to a lot of our draft preparations but it’s a very exciting time. We’ve added two quality players and we’re still working on more.”

Hickey has been on the job exactly six weeks and managed to re-sign Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes to a four-year deal and bring in street free agent safety Louis Delmas the night before free agency began. All of these players have spoken highly of the courting process and of their desire to play for the Dolphins.

Both Albert and Mitchell went out of their way to emphasize that Miami was their first choice and that they really want to be here and be part of the roster that Hickey, Head Coach Joe Philbin and Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte are building. That means a lot to Hickey.

“We’ve always felt we had an attractive destination, not only because of the players on our team but the committed owner and the community and the fan base,” Hickey said. “We’ve always felt that we’re attractive but it’s nice to see that and it come to fruition with them ending up as Miami Dolphins.”

In addition to himself, Philbin, Aponte and the other coaches and scouts involved in the recruiting process, Hickey also acknowledges how beneficial some of the current players on the roster have been. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey were present at dinner last night when the Albert and Mitchell negotiations were progressing.

“I think it definitely helps because you get a sense for who we are,” Hickey said. “Obviously, from the general manager to players there are different relationships than from player to player and to start building that relationship now and going forward that can only help us build a winner here.”
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