Miami Dolphins long snapper John Denney has a cult following of fans, and when you have been on the roster since Bob Griese too his first snap, you probably deserve that recognition. Okay, that might be some hyperbole, but the almost 38-year old, two-time Pro Bowl Denney has been with the team since 2005.
Denney has been on the team for the Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent GReen, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, Pat White, J.P. Losman, Matt Moore, and Ryan Tannehill “eras.” He has played for Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles, Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell, and Adam Gase. He has seen the team’s home stadium named Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, and Hard Rock Stadium.
Denney joined the team three years before H. Wayne Huizenga sold the first 50 percent of the team to Stephen Ross in 2008. Ross then bought another 45 percent of the team in 2009.
In other words, Denney has seen a lot and has been with the team for awhile. He has the franchise record for consecutive games played with a current streak of 183 games
The Dolphins were forced to fill a spot for a team captain this past week when safety Reshad Jones was lost for the seaso ndue to a torn rotator cuff. Denney was selected to add the “C” to his chest.
“It’s never easy to replace a guy like Reshad, especially with what he has done since I’ve been here,” head coach Adam Gase said of making Denney a captain. “When you get to a place, you always do as much research on everybody as possible, and everybody told me, ‘(Jones) doesn’t kind of say a whole bunch. He’s a really good player, but he’s quiet, and he does what he needs to do and leads by example.’ We asked a little more of him, and he did it. He did a great job as far as being a vocal leader and coming out every day and showing young guys how to do it and speaking up when he felt like something wasn’t right.
“Trying to find that next guy wasn’t … It’s not that easy sometimes, because I’m not in the locker room every day. John Denney was able to speak on Saturday night before we played Pittsburgh. I think he really made a strong statement to our team. It hit everybody. When he talks – because he doesn’t say a whole bunch – when he talked, I think a lot of guys really listened to what he was saying. That was a clear cut to me the fact that he has been here longer than anybody else. He has been through a lot, and he has leadership qualities that I think a lot of us didn’t’ really realize and guys respect him. We felt like that was the best move for us as far as giving our guys another veteran guy to be able to turn to and somebody that I appreciate and will listen to if he ever brought something to me.”
Safety Michael Thomas, who was selected as the special teams captain before the season, but is now seeing his special teams play time diminish as he replaces Jones as a starting safety, was asked this week about how hard it is to play 100 percent of the defensive snaps, while also playing on special teams. He did not miss the opportunity to congratulate Denney on the selection as a captain. “I had to do it [defense and special teams] in the later part of last year, so I was mentally prepared for it. The team was smart, trying to take me off a few special teams (units), even though I am a special teams captain. Congrats to John Denney for getting that ‘C’ (captain’s patch) on his chest now, too. (I) had to be prepared more mentally and go out there, go as hard as I can and be smart about it. When the team sees I’m fatiguing a little bit, (it’s the) next man up on special teams and next man up on defense.”
The Dolphins do not play until Week 9, using their Week 8 bye week as a chance to get healthy and retool the team to make up for injuries. Denney will have to wait until the New York Jets come to Miami for the Week 9 opening of the teams’ annual home-and-home series to continue his consecutive games played streak and to get to wear the captain’s “C” once again.