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Former Cowboys LB Akin Adoyele-a True Warrior


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Someone on CZ posted this. Remember last year how this guy got his arsed kicked by opposing FULLBACKS-including the Giants' Madison Hedge**** THREE TIMES, and your own Mike Sellers TWICE.

Thought you guys may get a good laugh out of this.

Akin Ayodele - A True Warrior

July 18, 2008

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By Andy Kent

Special for MiamiDolphins.com

One of the first things anybody needs to know about Dolphins seventh-year linebacker Akin Ayodele is the origin of his first name – his full first name, because it strikes at the core of his existence on the football field.

The 28-year-old Texan was born Akinola Ayodele on September 17th, 1979 in Dallas, the oldest of two brothers and a sister. The meaning of the African word "Akinola" is, "a warrior who has gone through many wars and has never been defeated." If you are an opposing running back, receiver or quarterback and you have just been made aware of that, it would probably alter your approach the next time you come across the middle.

"I've been asked about that a lot and how do I take that into my game? I have to," said Ayodele, who was a third-round draft choice of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2002 out of Purdue and played his first four seasons in Jacksonville before signing with the Dallas Cowboys in March of 2006. "I think for me, once I realized what my name meant and me playing ball, you kind of have to take that mindset and use it in all aspects of the game. Whether it's just studying or running or especially game day, that's the kind of mindset I have, of doing the best I can and not letting my opponent defeat me."

Ayodele's track record in the NFL only adds to the meaning of his first name as he has not missed a game in 96 opportunities, starting 76. He became a full-time starter at middle linebacker during his second season with the Jaguars and has yet to relinquish his spot, although he's coming into a position in Miami that was occupied by one Zach Thomas for the previous 12 years.

"I'm not here to fill Zach's shoes at all because he is very well-known around the area and has been a big part of the Dolphins franchise and organization, so by no means am I even trying to compare myself to him or do what he did," Ayodele said. "For me, I'm all about football and getting involved in the community my way. Wherever my coaches need me to play, that's what I'm going to do, and I know that it's been tough around here with the losing seasons. Whatever I have to do to try and help this team get back to a winning mode and become a winning program again, that's what I'm all about."

In an odd twist, Thomas is now with the Cowboys, a team Ayodele grew up watching at a stadium where he actually worked for a spell. During his high school days at Irving's MacArthur High, Ayodele worked at Texas Stadium a handful of times as part of the school's community service program. He grew up admiring the Cowboys teams of the 1990s with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders, but he never dreamed he actually would someday put on the Dallas uniform.

Throw in the prospect of lining up on the field with his younger brother, Remi, and Ayodele considers that to have exceeded any of his aspirations. Remi played nose tackle at the University of Oklahoma from 2004-05 and the two brothers shared a locker room in Dallas for two seasons.

"It was really something for our entire family having two brothers in the league and actually on the same team together," Ayodele said. "His first year he was on the scout team and last year he actually got to play and I was actually very proud to see his hard work starting to pay off and to see him make a couple big plays when he was in there. From an older brother's standpoint, looking at your sibling do something, it was almost surreal because at times we were both in the game at the same time."

But while Remi is still trying to make a name for himself, Akin has established himself as one of the most consistent linebackers in the game, having reached the 100-tackle plateau in each of his first five seasons and then barely missing it in 2007 when he finished with 95. He has also proven to be an opportunistic defender by intercepting five passes, forcing nine fumbles and recovering seven fumbles, including one that he returned for a touchdown.

Ayodele also has recorded 9.5 sacks from his linebacker position and his acquisition by Miami via trade with Dallas along with tight end Anthony Fasano is considered by some to have been a steal. But the soft-spoken son of a very influential mother is humble when it comes to describing himself on the field.

"I don't like to boast on myself, but I guess my game, I'm a guy that's very tough-nosed against both the run and the pass," Ayodele said. "In recent years I have been playing more of the coverage guy on the open side of the defense, but at the same time I pride myself in my leadership skills and speaking up when I have to and just trying to get a mindset of winning. I want to win and I think that experience lets you know when something is right and when something is wrong,t when it's time to speak up."

One player who is not afraid to talk up Ayodele is current Dolphins receiver Ernest Wilford, who was a teammate of Ayodele's in Jacksonville.

"He's a great leader and a great friend," said Wilford, who signed with Miami on the first day of free agency back in March. "He's definitely a guy who cares about his teammates and a guy who will give you a 100 percent every play. He's going to bring a lot to the table. He's going to bring a lot of leadership and the qualities that you want in a linebacker."

Some of those qualities actually have nothing at all do with football and everything to do with the life lessons Ayodele's mother taught him as a child when she worked two jobs and still went to school at night while raising her four children. Ayodele took those lessons to heart and graduated college with a double major in sports psychology and law and society and a minor in business.

In 2002, his second season in the NFL, Ayodele was nominated by the Jaguars for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award after going above and beyond with his charitable work on behalf of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Just last year during the offseason, Ayodele participated in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at the Harvard School of Business. He has since started two business ventures in the Dallas area, and he traces both of these admirable accomplishments to his mother.

"I think for me, the fact that I had a mother that was very involved in the community, regardless of what our economic status was, turned out to be the key," Ayodele said. "She really would talk to us about giving back and just the fact that you're fortunate enough to have what you have and there are other people who are a lot worst off and need people to encourage them.

"For me, just the fact that I am standing in the position I am is important, and a lot of us in the league are in the same position. We're in the position to give back, even if it's just our time and speaking to them or raising money or whatever. Think how much that means to them and how it affects their lives."

Ayodele never stops thinking.

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