Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil met with the media on Saturday.
Miami Dolphins rookie offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil spoke with the media on Saturday, taking the next step toward putting a crazy 2016 NFL Draft night and first week in the league behind him. Just minutes before the Draft began, a video of Tunsil appearing to smoke marijuana, a video reportedly from two-years ago, appeared on Tunsil's Twitter account. The victim of an apparent hack, the insanity continued when, on Tunsil's Instagram account, screen shots of apparent conversations between the tackle and a coach at Ole Miss in which money was discussed, with the possibility that Tunsil received cash to assist with bills, appeared.
During the press conference after his selection, Tunsil attempted to be honest with reporters, admitting that it was him in the video and that the exchange with the coach was also real. While it does not appear either incident will have an impact on Tunsil's future in the NFL (the league has said it is still evaluating whether or not he will begin his career in stage one of the league's drug program, and any repercussions from the text message exchange will likely be levied by the NCAA on Ole Miss, his college, but the NFL should not have any intentions for punishment or sanctions on Tunsil), the video clearly had an immediate impact as Tunsil, considered a possible first-overall pick and among the top, if not the top, prospects in the Draft, fell to the Dolphins with the 13th-overall pick and the third tackle selected.
Things continued down strange path when Tunsil had an allergic reaction just prior to his introductory press conference with the Dolphins, and he missed the event. The team held another press conference later in the day, but it just added to a confusing week as Tunsil moved from the college to the professional ranks.
On Saturday, Tunsil again met with the media, starting with talking about his allergic reaction. "I actually found out what kind of fish it was," Tunsil explained. "I think it was called Mahi Mahi or something like that. I had never had that before.”
You live and you learn. But, hey, I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be with this team.
“Never again. I can’t go through that again,” Tunsil said when asked if he would ever try Mahi again.
The conversation turned to the crazy week Tunsil had from the Draft through to his signing his rookie contract at the start of the Dolphins' rookie minicamp. “You live and you learn," Tunsil said. "But, hey, I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be with this team. I’m glad to be going through this weekend, get to meet the coaches, get to meet some of the players, get to meet some of the vets. Like I said before, I’m blessed just to be here.”
“I’m not worried about that," Tunsil replied when asked about his draft experience being tied to him throughout his career. "Everybody (has) their own opinions. I’m the only one who knows what kind of true character I (have), and that’s for me to prove to everybody.”
“It was in the past when it happened," Tunsil continued. "I’m not looking at that (anymore). I’m looking forward (and) trying to help this team out.”
The conversation did turn to actual football related items, including Tunsil's first impressions of the rookie minicamp, which began Friday and runs through Sunday. It’s going great. Like I just told you, I got to meet some of the players, some of the coaches, some of the vets. Meeting some of the vets, those are the guys you’re going to be looking up to, so it has been pretty good. I can’t complain at all.”
I’ve been talking to Mike Pouncey a lot about film work and how to work and field stuff. (He is) somebody to look up to, somebody that can show me how to lead the way.”
“They’re like leadership," Tunsil added about the veterans. "You have to look up to them (and they say), ‘Hey, you do this. You do this in the film. You do this on the field. You do this in the weight room. Just work hard. Give it your all.’”
Tunsil specifically spoke about Dolphins' Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey spending time with the rookie. “I’ve been talking to Mike Pouncey a lot about film work and how to work and field stuff," Tunsil remarked. "(He is) somebody to look up to, somebody that can show me how to lead the way.”
The Dolphins are expected to consider moving Tunsil to guard for his rookie year, allowing him to develop to the speed of the NFL, while also using Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert on the outside. Tunsil was asked if he has any experience playing anything other than tackle, and what his reaction to a move would be. “I have never played guard," he answered. "But hey, it’ll be a new experience. I’ll even play center. Wherever you want me to play, I’ll be fine.”
He continued, "Wherever they put me, I’m going to give it my all. If they put me at quarterback, I’m going to do a seven-step drop back and throw the pass. If they put me at tight end, I’m going to catch the ball. Wherever they put me, I’m going to give it my all.”
"Wherever coach puts me, it’s fine to me.”
Asked if there is any difference in his mind between playing tackle or guard, Tunsil explained, "(They’re) big guys down there. (There) would be no difference. It’s the game of football. It’s mental toughness. It’s all a mind game. It’s physical toughness also. Everything is good. Wherever they put me, it’ll be fine.”
Wherever coach puts me, it’s fine to me.
Tunsil did point out that he has played a position other than tackle. “The Sugar Bowl, actually, when I played tight end," he said of the last time he was not playing tackle. "When I caught that touchdown pass.”
Tunsil has already been lobbying the coaches to add tight end reps to his rookie experience. “That started about 10 minutes after we drafted him,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said laughing on Saturday. “We’ll worry about the o-line part first and then we’ll move out.”
In my opinion, I think we’re awesome.
Tunsil was asked about his rookie season goals for himself, but turned it toward looking toward the team aspect of 2016. “I don’t have (any) ego whatsoever. I’m here to help the team in any kind of way. Whatever I can do to help the team, I’m here.”
“I think we (are) good," Tunsil said of the offensive line's prospects for the year. "In my opinion, I think we’re awesome.”
Tunsil said he will be staying in the Miami area after rookie minicamp, and he also discussed being assigned his jersey number. Tunsil will wear number 67 this year, a number he has not worn previously, but said, “That was the only number available. So hey, I’ll be rocking No. 67. I’m fine with that.”
Before the press conference ended, there had to be one more question about the video and text message hacking, and Tunsil handled it exactly like he should from here on out. “I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins," he replied when asked who was responsible for hacking his Twitter and Instagram accounts.