July 4 Has Special Meaning To Dolphins Players

Posted Jul 4, 2014

The anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the nation’s birthday, is the one holiday they can get to truly enjoy.

In the past eight NFL seasons alone, the Dolphins have played games on Thanksgiving, on Christmas Day and on New Year’s Day.

And in those years when they didn’t have a game on those holidays, the focus was on football a lot more than on celebrating with family and friends.

Memorial Day is another national holiday when folks get together for some barbecuing or fun in the sun, but the players are in the midst of the offseason conditioning program at that time, so again the holiday has to take a back seat.

But the Fourth of July is different. The anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the nation’s birthday, is on a par with any holiday during the year. For Dolphins players, though, it’s the one holiday they can get to truly enjoy.

“Generally, football during Thanksgiving, you’re busy, even Christmas, there’s something going on,” defensive end Cameron Wake said. “Even New Year’s ... was it New Year’s Day we had a game? I’m not really thinking about that, I’m about football, whether it’s midweek, a football game. So July 4, you’re off, you can actually go home. You can have your family come. You can sit back and relax, and not have to worry about next Sunday. That’s always been one of the holidays that I’ve usually enjoyed, but the other major ones are generally overshadowed by your job.”

In the midst of their five-week break before the start of training camp, Dolphins players are scattered throughout the country with some even away from the United States on this Fourth of July.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis, for example, is in Cancun, Mexico, where on Saturday he will marry his longtime girlfriend Kimberly Davidson.

When he talked during minicamp about his Fourth of July plans, this is what he said: “Whatever they do in Cancun. I don’t know what they do there, but whatever it is, I’ll definitely celebrate the day.”

Here’s a sampling of what other Dolphins players had planned for the Fourth of July:

• Cornerback Jamar Taylor: “I got something cooked up right now; I won’t put it out there yet, though. Just being with friends, family, being with my girl. Just enjoy it.”

• Linebacker Danell Ellerbe: “My wife’s family goes to Myrtle Beach every year back home, take the kids out there to the ocean. This will be my first time going with my son, so it’ll be kind of special.”

• Linebacker Jason Trusnik: “Just (being) with family and going back home to Ohio and just see some family and friends.”

• Defensive tackle A.J. Francis: “On the Fourth of July I’ll be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise.”

• Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell: “Just probably relax, maybe get some barbecue or something. I’m sure there’s some around here.”

One player who had no plans whatsoever was safety Louis Delmas.

“Unfortunately, I never do anything for the Fourth of July. Never,” he said. “That’s one thing that my high school coach and people around me told me not to do is something around the Fourth of July because no matter what, even if something happens to you or not, situations, for some reason they occur more on the Fourth of July.”

While the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate and enjoy, it’s also a day to reflect.

“I’ve been fortunate enough with my family, until I got into college, we always used to get together, cooking out, enjoying time with family and friends and just be thankful for not just each other but the opportunity and the independence to be able to do a lot of things that we do,” Wake said. “In a lot of my travels, I’ve seen how fortunate you are. A lot of people don’t realize until they step outside of their box, whether it’s in this country or not. I’ve gone to other countries, Third-World countries, where you don’t have a lot of the opportunities that you’re afforded here.

“Anybody who’s died for that cause, who’s given their life, time, effort, energy for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms that we have here in America, that’s a day for me to kind of reflect on that and enjoy all the fruits of that opportunity.”

Wake’s sentiments were echoed by a couple of his teammates.

• Sturgis: “It’s always a good time to sit back and thank the people that laid down their lives for us and really spend time with family members.”

• Defensive back Michael Thomas: “Celebrating those who fought for us. Celebrating the past when those guys fought for our independence. I love history, I love what those guys did in the past and celebrating them.”

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