Wednesday was the 18-year anniversary of 9/11, a tragedy that hit close to home for Head Coach Brian Flores.
Flores was born in New York and his uncle was a firefighter in Brooklyn on 9/11, though he was on sick leave as he battled cancer.
It was that uncle, Darrell Patterson, who beat cancer and is still alive, who got Flores into football, which led him to play at Boston College (where he was a sophomore on 9/11), which led to his coaching career and ultimately to the Dolphins.
So, yes, the anniversary of 9/11 has some significance for Flores.
"He was part of Ladder 118 in Brooklyn, which was the first truck to go in, so nobody came out from that group," Flores said Wednesday morning. "He was on sick leave. He had cancer, so he was obviously still devastated by the loss of all the guys in his firehouse. I spent a lot of time at that firehouse. 9/11 brings back those memories. I was in college at the time.
"I remember football bringing a lot of people closer, so that's what I love about the game. It unites. Even when there's anger, pain, distress, displeasure, the games and teams unite people. That's one thing I love about the game. Take us, for example. There were guys who were disappointed (about the outcome Sunday). There were players who were disappointed. There were coaches who were disappointed. There were calls that we wish we had back. There were plays we wish we had back.
"The good thing about the game is you've got 52 other guys and a bunch of coaches who, they've got your back. Despite your flaws, they take care of you, and they still love you. That's the beauty of the game. That's why it's so near and dear to me, and that's why I love going out here."
In part to address the tackling issues that surfaced in the regular season opener, the Dolphins practiced in full pads Wednesday.
"It was good," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "I thought (there was) good energy, good tempo to the day, real physical. I thought we got a lot out of today."
Safety Reshad Jones (ankle) and wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip/calf) did not practice Wednesday, along with LB Trent Harris (foot).
The Dolphins injury report also included DE Jonathan Ledbetter (ankle) and S Bobby McCain (shoulder) as limited participants, and S Walt Aikens (shoulder) and DE Charles Harris (wrist) as full participants.
Practice squad notes
The Dolphins have two new players on the practice squad, one who was here this summer and one who wasn't.
The latest addition is rookie wide receiver T.J. Rahming, who was signed Aug. 20 and was among the roster cuts to the 53-player limit. Also signed was offensive lineman Chidi Okeke, a rookie from Tennessee State who was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs on Aug. 31.
To make room for the two players, the Dolphins released tackle Zach Sterup and linebacker Christian Sam.
The other nine members of the practice squad are QB Jake Rudock, CB Nik Needham, S Montre Hartage, DT Jamiyus Pittman, LB Terrill Hanks, DE Dewayne Hendrix, WR Isaiah Ford, TE Chris Myarick, and Brazilian import Durval Queiroz Neto.
The visit from the New England Patriots this weekend no doubt will bring back great memories for everybody who played a part in the "Miracle of Miami."
Front and center, of course, is running back Kenyan Drake, who ran the final 52 yards after getting a lateral from DeVante Parker to complete the most incredible finish in Dolphins history.
When Drake spoke to reporters Wednesday, he was asked how many times he's seen a replay of his famous touchdown since the end of last season.
"I don't personally go in and look for it, but whenever it comes up I find myself just looking through the duration of the play, just kind of seeing all the details of it," Drake said. "But it's in the past. We gotta focus on the 2019 Patriots. That's where my head is at."