Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi did not make the trip with the team and will not play against the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s opener, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.
Ajayi, 23, was a fifth-round pick by the Dolphins in 2015 and figured to be the feature back in Miami once Lamar Miller departed in free agency. Unfortunately for him, the Dolphins added free agent Arian Foster, formerly of the Houston Texans, and Foster has risen quickly to the top of the depth chart.
Reports say Ajayi being left in Miami was a coach’s decision, which would be surprising save for the widespread reports that Ajayi did not handle the news of Foster being named the starter well at all. Ajayi originally looked primed to take on a backup and change-of-pace role behind Foster, but it seems he’s on head coach Adam Gase’s bad side at this point.
Foster is a workhorse back who, when healthy, is one of the top backs in the league. He rushed for 1,246 yards and 8 touchdowns in 13 games with the Texans in 2014, but he only played in four games last season due to injuries. He was always expected to take the starting role from Ajayi, who was likely to get a few touches per game as the backup.
Given Foster’s injury history, being his backup isn’t the worst thing in the world. There was always a solid chance for Ajayi to earn playing time if Foster went down with an injury, something that has happened in each of the past three seasons for multiple games each time. Kenyan Drake, Isaiah Pead and Damien Williams are the other running backs on Miami’s roster.