When players from other leagues make the jump to the NFL, there’s a shock that goes through their systems. The NFL is faster, tougher, more difficult than where they came from, and even the most talented players sometimes fail to make the cut. In the case of former CFL linebacker Sam Eguavoen, that jump isn’t holding him back so far. For the second straight day, Eguavoen lined up with the starters on defense, even over former second-round pick Raekwon McMillan.
“We’re just rotating guys around,” Eguavoen said after practice. “I’m just blessed for the opportunity to be in the NFL. You know I come from the CFL, it’s a different ballgame and I still got a lot to learn. We’ve all got a lot to learn, especially with the new defensive scheme.”
Being from the CFL, Eguavoen is used to a much larger field to play on. It also means that offenses have more chances to get a first down, so stamina is tested. There’s been a lot of adapting he’s had to in a very short amount of time. Eguavoen had other offers to play elsewhere, but he ultimately chose Miami because of the opportunity that presented itself.
“They’re a team I felt like they’re in the rebuilding process,” He said. “It’s just a new opportunity, everybody’s starting from ground zero. Just to build a bond with the guys out here.”
True, Eguavoen has a good shot to make the Dolphins roster since the team is trying to regain their footing after a purge. But with new regimes comes new schemes, and it’s a complicated one that head coach Brian Flores is looking to install. On top of getting used to the NFL’s structure, he’s having to figure out how to handle the responsibilities being thrown at him.
“We’re running multiple styles of defense,” He said. “So it’s probably just playing on the edge more. You gotta learn to really use your hands, and it’s first contact being on that line of scrimmage. It’s quick contact, and I’m used to being off the ball. So mixing it up, being off the ball and on the ball, that’s probably the biggest shock I had.”
Clearly, he’s gotten over the shock fairly well. Being inserted into the starting lineup is no small feat. But with his background, Eguavoen is remaining humble, and his main goal is to just stick where he is, having worked his way from the bottom to the top.
“It’s not just signing with the Dolphins, it’s just the opportunity to be in the NFL.” Eguavoen said. “But I’m glad that I came here. I’m glad that they paid me up, it was Miami. My thought was to not be distracted out here, just focus in and try to be the best linebacker … it was hard, mentally. Not gonna lie. It was hard playing in a so-called ‘lower league.’ It’s kinda like ‘dang, I miss a tackle out there, I’m never gonna make it to the NFL.’ It’s truly hard on you mentally, but I just stuck with it, stayed to the grind … I did what my coaches said out there, I focused on what I had to, and God blessed me with this opportunity.”