Former Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael is living his best post-retirement life. Back in his home state of Georgia, McMichael is the co-host of The Midday Show with Andy and Randy in Atlanta. Make no mistake about it, he doesn't consider himself a media guy.
"I'm not a media guy. I'm a radio guy," McMichael said emphatically during his Friday appearance on Drive Time with Travis Wingfield.
From the turmoil of coaching change and a surprise retirement to the highs of a mid-season victory in San Francisco over the 49ers, McMichael gave us commentary – as only he can – on a very interesting season in Dolphins history.
The Dolphins were 1-9 coming into the 49ers game. Like the 2020 season, the Dolphins played the Seahawks the week prior to the date in San Francisco, only this time up in Seattle. That game became infamous for one reason – A.J. Feeley's glute injury.
After a third quarter touchdown pass from Feeley to Chris Chambers, defensive lineman David Bowens congratulated the Miami quarterback with a slap on the backside. Feeley began writhing in pain.
"This is what happened," McMichael explained. "A.J. gets hit on this bruise on his right cheek or whatever. He was hurting. He has a bruised butt. So we go down and score and he's coming off the field. David Bowens smacks him right on the bruise and A.J. hits the ground like somebody shot him. We're all like 'get the hell up man, you're not hurt that bad,' then we all saw the bruise in the locker room and realized 'oh, it's pretty bad.'"
Feeley replaced four-year incumbent starter Jay Fiedler in Week 2 after a 17-7 season-opening loss to the Titans.
In the victory against San Francisco, McMichael started seeing the ball a lot from Feeley. He scored a touchdown with just over 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter giving the Dolphins a lead they would never relinquish.
"It was trips left, one receiver backside," McMichael said. "The trips were to the left side and I was the inside receiver closest to the tackle. The X receiver runs the takeoff, the inside slot runs up the field and I run a middle read seam route, basically just go across the formation. As soon as I go across the formation, I don't even see the ball leave A.J.'s hand. I just looked up and it was on me."
"Feeley could spin it," McMichael followed up.
The back-to-back games on the west coast meant a week-long stay in Northern California, the the week of Thanksgiving. Without their families to go home to after practice, the Dolphins players participated in events and excursions that helped bond the team, McMichael said.
"We went to Alcatraz," McMichael said. "They've got that little baseball diamond, so we were out there pretending we were playing baseball. Being down there doing all that stuff as a team, I think it helped us out on that Sunday."
McMichael's touchdown gave Miami a 14-10 lead and a Jason Taylor strip-sack – scooped and scored from one yard out by Derrick Pope – put the Dolphins up 24-10 with three minutes left in the game.
"Plane rides from the road are always fun." McMichael said. "It's even more fun when you get a win. It was a long flight, we were tired, haven't seen our families; but you want to talk about a fun trip. Coach (Jim) Bates got the game ball. Offensively, defensively everyone loved Coach Bates."
Jim Bates took over as the interim head coach prior to the west coast swing.
It was the retirement of a prominent player before the season that contributed to the slow start. While Ricky Williams stepping away from the game in the prime of a career with trajectory for Canton shocked the sports world, it wasn't a surprise to those that knew him closest – players like McMichael.
"The night we found out, me and Chris Chambers were having dinner down by the beach," McMichael explained. "As we were leaving somebody told me they just heard the news. My response was just… OK. I wasn't surprised. I spent a lot of time around Ricky.
"That's just Ricky," he said.
The Dolphins finished the season 4-12 and would begin a new era the following season. McMichael would play two more years with the team and finish his Miami career with 283 receptions, 3,096 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. The 283 receptions and 3,096 receiving yards are both Dolphins tight end records.
Next week on Fins Flashback, we'll talk to former Dolphins wide receiver Marty Booker about the 2005 season opening win vs. the Denver Broncos, his trade to Miami from Chicago, playing for Nick Saban and much more.