Read the postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022.
Head Coach Mike McDaniel (transcribed by ASAP Sports)
MIKE McDANIEL: Let's go ahead and get started. I'm sure you guys have heard that we lost a dear member of the Miami Dolphins organization, Jason Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. Yeah, we're just going through the process in grieving with the team. I just told them about it. Right now football pales in comparison to what all the people that were really affected. The list is long from Jason and his walk of life and his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, Liya, Aiden, and Sloane. I haven't been here that long, but his investment into the team and the community, it didn't take long to see the great work he did. I mean, I didn't see a day that — there wasn't a time — there wasn't a day that passed that I saw him that he just didn't light up the room. Like I just told the team, it's important for those who loved him and were touched by him and all the members of our team to lean on each other. That's what we're going to try to do. Our hearts are heavy, as they should be, for an unquestioned professional that's made his mark on not only the team but the National Football League. Like I told the team, I thought their effort today reflected what would bring him joy as best we could. This was unexpected and very hard. Thoughts and prayers just go with his family. I'm not really sure what I do after this.
Q: If I can ask you a question about the relationship you had with Jason? You said you haven't been here very long. What impression did he leave with you, and how do you think this organization will remember him?
MIKE McDANIEL: As consistent as I have ever seen, from his wardrobe to his spirit. He was the nines. That's why it makes it so tough. This is a healthy, healthy guy that just brought it every day. You know, he worked at the stadium. I'm not sure how many people that I feel like I know from the stadium. I would love to know more, but on a day-to-day I don't get to interact with all the people as much as I would like. For him to make such an impact, it was obvious. You can't make that impression. You get to talk to them maybe once a week, but the impression that he made, there's no fooling that. You could see the relationships, the eye contact, how people looked at him, how he embraced others. He was the consummate professional. I know for guys that have been around here for a while, they knew him like a family member, and I think it's incredibly impressive, and it just speaks to the human being and his impact on all of us where I could see that in my brief time around him. I mean, he was a force of positivity. The organization has been through some stuff, and it was very impactful to me just how many people in the organization were passionate about doing their jobs well and about the Dolphins, and he was the top of the list. He was just full of life. That's the hardest part. There's no words to describe. He had a great family. His wife is awesome and his children, and it's just tough. It's a tough one to swallow, and he will be missed, but he will not be forgotten. I can tell you that much.
Q: Did you get word like all of us during halftime, or did you know a little bit beforehand?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, I got word before the game. And so there was a — you know these things happen in life. You never expect them. As the head coach, I didn't really know what to do. This was maybe a couple of hours before the game that we heard he was having trouble. Then speaking with the people that had worked with him for the longest that had spent intimate time with him for an extended period of time, I was really at a loss. Like, hey, what do I do about this because I just couldn't stop thinking about everyone that's affected. And I got some strong advice from in particular Chris Grier and Brandon Shore specifically that said that it didn't matter that it was Preseason Game 3. He understood what was on the line for all the players. I mean, shoot, this particular game, I don't even know the head count for how many people from the community that he had at the game that wouldn't otherwise be able to see the game, and what he would want most is to see us all do our jobs as best we could. In that vein, I had to push forward, and we thought that the best thing — the thing that he would want, as best we could decipher, would be that we let the players know after, so that's what I was just doing before we got started. It's been a tough day for all those reasons.
Q: In the back of your head did you maybe call that first play just to kind of maybe to tribute or maybe just to lighten up the mood or something like that?
MIKE McDANIEL: Somebody said something. I can't even remember at this point. Maybe it was Chris (Grier). I think it was Chris that said, 'dude, he would want you to do what you do.' So that's all I thought of. It at least gave me direction because you're, like, 'Okay, what am I doing?' But, no, when Chris said that, I was able to, all right, say, okay, I have a job to do, and then it was just all right. Once we got to the two-minute warning, it all came back. We do the best we can, like all of us. This is a part, a fixture of life. It's a part of being human, and it's impossible. It's inhumane. We do the best. We all experience those things. I hate it because you feel like you can — as a head coach, you're supposed to do stuff. You're supposed to lead, or you're supposed to do things, and there's nothing for me to do, you know? I can't make this one better, but I think we all can relate to that.
Q: I know it's tough to talk about the game after that, but that Tyreek pass on the first play of the game, what was it like to see that right off the bat their first time playing in a game on the field together?
MIKE McDANIEL: I was just happy for those two individuals because they've invested a lot. I was happy for the team and the organization really because they've invested a lot. They know — let's just say it was cool to see them not blink and do what they love doing. Really good players. I'm happy to call them my teammates.
Q: Are you sending the league a message with calling that on the first play? I think you did it in a scrimmage, two deep passes like that.
MIKE McDANIEL: We're really just trying to work on our craft. You don't know what defense they're going to run out there. You have to execute the play, and I was happy that it was a tough look, but Tua is making that decision to throw to him while at the same time his back is to the defense. It takes a lot of training, but we were pretty confident that if we got the right look that, they would execute it. That's why they are who they are, and that's why we all believe in them so much.