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Vernon Excited For Return Trip To London

Posted Jul 17, 2015

After spending time on a promotional tour in London this week, Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon is looking forward to the October 4th showdown with the Jets at Wembley Stadium.

Olivier Vernon enjoyed himself this week during his visit to London to promote the Dolphins’ Week 4 game against the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium.

The visit got him fired up about the division battle Oct. 4, although Vernon doesn’t need any more motivation for that game.

“I’m excited,” Vernon told The Finsiders from London. “The fans over here are going to get pretty much the experience of how it is pretty much like a playoff game. It’s a rival game. The Dolphins and the Jets, it’s like a rival game. The fans over here, they’re going to get a glimpse of how a playoff game is going to look like and how intense it’s going to be. I’m excited to get that going.”

Vernon isn’t just excited to get to that Jets game, he’s also looking forward to the start of training camp and the first practice July 30.

He’s heading into his fourth NFL season with high hopes and can’t wait to start doing his part to realize them.

“We do a lot of preparation before the season starts, just to get ready, just to get our bodies right and put a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get ready for the season,” Vernon said. “Everybody is excited. Everybody is excited for this first game. Everybody is excited just to get these pads on. I can’t wait to see some of the young guys and see what they do on this field and see what they can do to help contribute to the team.”

Vernon was the Dolphins representative for the London promotional tour that also included Jets six-time Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold. Vernon joked that Mangold was talking trash about new Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and how he couldn’t wait to get back to South Florida to tell Suh about it to get him riled up.

After a quick laugh, Vernon made it clear he was joking, adding he had enjoyed spending time with Mangold, seeing some of the sights, and also spending time with British kids during football clinics conducted as part of the promotional tour.

It was fellow defensive end Cameron Wake who represented the Dolphins last summer on the promotional tour in advance of the game against the Oakland Raiders, also in Week 4.

Vernon said having been to London last year will help him and his teammates mostly as far as knowing what to expect from the trip.

“For one thing, the flight is going to be just as long as it was last year,” Vernon said. “That ain’t changing. Ain’t no avoiding that. Preparing for this game, you’ve got to get your rest. It’s a long flight and you’ve got a quick turnaround by the time you get over here in London. It’s a game that during game week you can’t get distracted with anything that’s going on. Some of the young guys have probably never experienced going to another country, let alone playing a football game. For the guys that have been over there, it’s pretty much do the same thing but even better than what we did last year.”

The Dolphins actually will be hard-pressed to top their London performance of a year ago, considering their dominating all-around showing in a 38-14 victory against the Raiders.

But it’s always about getting better for Vernon, who emerged as an NFL star in 2013 when he had 11.5 sacks and made an impact again last season even though his sack total dropped to 6.5.

“For me coming into a new season, I try to forget about what I did in the past,” Vernon said. “It’s a clean slate. It’s all about proving yourself. For me when I strap on my helmet and put my cleats on on game days, I’m trying to prove myself. I want everybody that I go against to respect me and know who I am. I look forward to this season. Hopefully it comes faster. I can’t wait.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin said during the June minicamp he had high hopes for the former University of Miami standout best known as “OV.”

“First and foremost, for himself, that they are sky high and again not everything can be measured in sacks in football,” Philbin said of expectations about Vernon. “And so the thing that I think that’s underrated about him is he plays with a lot of effort, a lot energy. He does a nice job in the running game as well and I’m excited about him. He’s worked hard. He’s in very, very good condition and so I’m excited about what he’s going to be able to accomplish this year.”

In a way, it was fitting that Vernon was the choice to represent the Dolphins in London this week considering the success he’s had against the Jets during his career.

Vernon is the only player in franchise history to have won both AFC Defensive Player of the Week and AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and he accomplished both against — you guessed it — the Jets.

In Week 8 of his rookie season in 2012, he earned the special teams award after scoring a touchdown by recovering a blocked punt in the end zone and later blocking a field goal attempt in a 30-9 victory. In Week 13 in 2013, he earned the defensive honor after recording three sacks in a 23-3 victory.

“I don’t know, it’s fortunate I guess every time I go against the Jets,” Vernon said. “I don’t know what it is, they’ve got some good ju-ju over there. I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to playing them again. It’s going to be a great game, high intensity and electric. It’s going to be a good game.”
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