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Stoneburner Working To Become An All-Around Tight End

Posted Jan 15, 2016

Stoneburner ended up appearing in 11 games for the Dolphins in 2015, making his first career start at San Diego when the offense opened with three tight ends.

The 2015 NFL season provided some great memories for Dolphins tight end Jake Stoneburner, moments he says “will live with me forever.”

But as much as he has and will continue to cherish those moments, they represented only a taste for Stoneburner and he absolutely wants more.

“I just want to become an all-around tight end,” Stoneburner said during an interview with The Finsiders. “I feel like that’s what’s going to get me on the field. I feel like I can catch the ball and run routes and block decent; I just need to upgrade those all. I need to get stronger and be able to be an every-down tight end where I can go block or go split out and play wide receiver. I feel that would give the coaches more options to play me and more places to put me, which would only help me with the longevity of my career.”

Stoneburner began the season on the Dolphins practice squad but was moved to the active roster after backup tight end Dion Sims was injured in the opener at Washington.

In his very first game in a Dolphins uniform, Stoneburner’s first NFL reception was good for a touchdown in the game at Jacksonville.

Stoneburner, who had nine games of NFL experience with the Green Bay Packers in 2013, scored another touchdown in the game at London’s Wembley Stadium against the New York Jets.

“I’ll never forget those plays,” Stoneburner told The Finsiders. “Jacksonville, that was really like my first time really getting some serious offensive snaps. Ryan (Tannehill) gave me the signal and hit me on the money. I could never forget that. And then in London, that touchdown was just unbelievable. When you’re in a different country, playing at Wembley, I felt like I was (soccer star) Wayne Rooney scoring a game-winning goal. Because the whole crowd is going crazy, you’re in a soccer stadium, it’s like, man, I just scored a touchdown in another country.

“I just felt like a soccer superstar there for a little bit. Granted, (Rooney is) probably a way bigger superstar and he does that way more often, but I’ll take the five minutes of fame.”

Stoneburner ended up appearing in 11 games for the Dolphins in 2015, making his first career start at San Diego when the offense opened with three tight ends.

He finished with only five catches, moving to the role of third tight end after Sims returned from his injury.

“I can’t complain,” Stoneburner said of his season. “I took advantage of, I feel, the opportunities I was given. When Dion went down, I was able to make some plays and then I just kind of fulfilled my role for what they thought for the rest of the season. I was able to get in there and get some plays as more of a blocking tight end and help the running game. I was just able to fill my role as a third tight end. Those guys stayed healthy, so just whenever they needed me or (needed) a break I was able to go out there. Going forward, I’d like to be able to increase that role and I feel I was able to gain my trust as the year went on, so (I’m) pretty happy with how it went.”

Stoneburner said his offseason game plan involved training at his alma mater Ohio State for a couple of months before returning to South Florida in March.

He is scheduled to go on a Buckeyes cruise at the end of February and he said that might be the time he cuts off his long black hair.

“It’s not the greatest look,” Stoneburner said. “My parents aren’t really very proud of it. They send me pictures all the time with me in short hair saying, look how handsome you look here. I’ve thought about cutting it, too. It’s just tough. I’ve been growing it out for like three years now, so it’s like cutting off a long commitment.

“I go on a Buckeyes cruise at the end of a February; it’s a big charity cruise. And they want me for a donation to cut off my hair in front of everybody. So if I don’t have my hair it’ll be because of that. At least it’ll be a good cause.”

Stoneburner and his teammates entered the offseason on a high note thanks to their victory against the New England Patriots in the season finale.

“They are a great team,” Stoneburner told The Finsiders. “They’re Super Bowl contenders and we showed if we come together we can play with the best. We did it throughout the season. We beat three playoff teams. It’s just some positive feedback for us getting back for the 2016 season. I feel like we started off on a good note. We’re 1-0 in 2016, so we can’t complain about that.”

Stoneburner also can’t complain about the 2015 season from the standpoint of recording his first career catches and his first career touchdowns.

“It was pretty unbelievable,” he said. “Those moments will live with me forever. I’m very thankful for Coach (Joe) Philbin at the time and Dan (Campbell) for giving me those chances and believing in me to go out there and do that. Those are lifetime memories right there.”

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