The numbers may have been in Jorvorskie Lane’s favor, but nothing was guaranteed. Players come and go during an NFL training camp, and it wasn’t even a lock that the Dolphins would keep a fullback, a position that’s slowly being phased out of the pass-happy NFL.
But the former Texas A&M Aggie survived the final round of cuts, and he will be making his NFL debut in his home state on Sunday against the Texans.
Lane recently sat down with Jesse Agler to rehash his journey from lugging furniture to bowling over NFL defenders.
“Really, I got away from football. I learned that MMA training, boxing training, was the best training. So that’s what I did. I got away from football because I knew in my mind that going out running routes and catching the ball and stuff like that, that’s natural because we’ve been doing it for so long.
“So what I did, man, I put my body in a whole different shock, doing the MMA training and boxing. Right now, it’s paying off.”
Lane may have had a different football fate had things unfolded a bit differently in College Station. He had been the Aggies’ primary running back, but when Mike Sherman took over for Dennis Franchione at Texas A&M, one of his first moves was to switch Lane to fullback, opting, instead, to use the nimble big guy as a lead blocker.
“It was one of the hardest transitions of my life. I was the running back in middle school, high school, and college. You’re looking at 10, 11 years. And moving to fullback, being three yards to seven yards, is totally, totally different. Really, you have to get your mind right.”
Likely in part due to his decrease in production during senior season, Lane went undrafted. After a stint in the Indoor Football League, one in which Lane’s skills may have been underutilized, he stopped playing altogether. Almost every time he turned on an NFL game, he saw a player he had played with in the Big 12. Former teammates like Mike Goodson and Stephen McGee had established themselves as tenured professionals.
So, with the help of a former Texas A&M coach, he started sending weigh-in pictures to Sherman, who had recently been named the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator. Once Lane got into playing shape, he finally spoke with an impressed Sherman, who told him to expect a phone call from Jeff Ireland some time after 2 p.m. that day.
“I got the butterflies right then. So around 2:30, 3 o’clock, I see a 214 number,” Lane said. “Usually you don’t answer a number like that. So something told me to answer it, so I answered it. It was Mr. Ireland. He was like, ‘Hey Jorvorskie, how you doing?’ Whoa, I was really stunned.”
When they spoke, Ireland’s message was made clear: “If you show up at 270, it’s a no go.” Lane, of course, had already shed the weight, and he arrived to Miami shortly thereafter.
It hasn’t been the easiest path to an NFL roster, but the journey itself has created an endless supply of ambition.
“For me, it’s mano-a-mano. I’m coming in through the back door,” Lane said. “I mean, I look at guys that have been drafted; I don’t really pay any attention to it. I keep to myself.”
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