“I got a text from my coach saying ‘be in my office at 9:30,’ and I was like, ‘Damn.’ That was my first reaction,” said Lane, who spent his first three years at Texas A&M from 2005-07 as a tailback. “So on the ride over here I was thinking and I said my prayers like I always do.”
Once he arrived at the facility, Lane headed upstairs to meet with Nixon. He immediately had his fears put to rest as Nixon congratulated him on making the team and briefly went over how he was going to be utilized on special teams and on the offense. Nixon sent Lane over to Sherman’s office next.
It was Sherman who called Lane not long after being hired in Miami by Head Coach Joe Philbin to ask him what kind of shape he was in. Sherman was trying to convince General Manager Jeff Ireland to take a look at Lane in a workout setting and he wanted to make sure that Lane was committed. So in that phone call Sherman emphasized how far he was sticking his neck out and how he wanted Lane to make him proud.
“I didn’t want to put his name in the dirt,” Lane said. “I know Coach Sherman knows a lot of players and with his word, if I came in and messed it up, they (the Dolphins) wouldn’t have trusted him on his word later on down the line. So I’m real thankful for the fact that he put the trust in me to come in here and be a Dolphin.”
Lane had just quit his job at a local furniture store in College Station, Texas and had just started working out again in an effort to get his weight back down under 300 pounds. He knew he had let himself go even after playing the 2010 season in the Indoor Football League with the West Texas Roughnecks. But the frustration of sitting on his couch and watching on television some of his former A&M teammates on Sundays finally got to him.
When the phone ring and it was Sherman on the other line, Lane didn’t blink an eye as he told his former college coach he would be ready and he would not let him down. Ireland finally relented after about the third or fourth time Sherman brought up Lane’s name and called him to invite him down for a workout. In order to get the point across that he did not want this to be a waste of time, Ireland was up front with Lane about making sure he weighed in at 260 pounds or less or the workout wouldn’t even commence.
“I remember the conversation with Mr. Ireland because he mentioned how he remembered me from my college days and that Coach Sherman spoke very highly about me so he was giving me advance notice to get my weight down,” said Lane, who has three children with his wife, Chan, between the ages of 4 and 6. “After a few days I got a call from a Dolphins representative letting me know they had booked a flight for me and Coach Sherman called right after. I was here on a Monday and worked out, Mr. Ireland called me back to tell me they were signing me and I haven’t been home since.”
Lane knew just how rare an opportunity this was for someone in his situation so he purposely did not pack a lot of clothes because he did not want to get comfortable. As long as he had it fresh in his mind that he could be cut loose at a moment’s notice, Lane felt that he had an edge. He even went so far as to load up on Dolphins gear and wore a Dolphins outfit every day as a reminder of why he was in Florida.
Solid performances during OTAs and minicamps earned Lane a return invitation to training camp, where he weighed in at 258 pounds. He had more than heeded the advice of his coaches and training staff during the down time in between minicamp and training camp to take care of his body, establishing a healthy diet and workout regimen. By the end of camp and the preseason he had left a strong impression on Philbin and Ireland, strong enough to earn him a contract.
“He’s a guy that in pickup football that you’d love on your team. He’s got some things that are hard to coach,” Philbin said. “You can’t simulate breaking three tackles necessarily like he did the other night. He broke some tackles against Atlanta. Again, those aren’t 50-yard plays. We understand that. Sometimes, the way defenses are designed today, getting the ball out to a runner in the flat even on a short pass and forcing them to tackle, a corner that maybe isn’t the most ambitious tackler in the world, that’s not a bad matchup sometimes.”
When he was a tailback for the Aggies, Lane still was known as a bruiser who could power his way in between the tackles and run over linebackers and defensive backs. He did just that against Atlanta on Miami’s only touchdown drive when he caught a pass in the flat and bowled over cornerback Brent Grimes and then another defender for a 10-yard gain and a first down at the Falcons 10.
Lane’s size and power will come in handy in goal line situations, which is what Nixon told him Friday before sending him over to Sherman’s office. In that brief span from his nervous ride from the hotel to the handshake with Nixon, Lane’s mindset went from wondering how he was going to break the news to his family that he had been cut to studying the Houston Texans defense in preparation for the season opener one week from Sunday.
All that was left was to meet with his biggest supporter and the man who never stopped believing in him.
“The first thing when I got in there Coach Sherman went and got a pen and a piece of paper and he said, ‘Hey, I know your journey. Let’s talk about how you’re going to spend your money,’” Lane said. “I’ve got the paper in my locker right now as we sat there and mapped out how I was going to manage my money. He said, ‘Good luck. I know you can do it. Show it.’ That felt damn good. The path that I had to take to get here, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s going to be a good day in Houston.”