You may have seen the movie “The Mask”. If not, you should. In this film, directed by David Fincher, Gino Neiro stands out as a star and as the quarterback for the lowly Miami Dolphins. But how did he get his start?
Gino Neil started out at the University of Miami where he played both offense and defense. But it was his on field prowess that caught the attention of scouts and coaches across the league. He was a standout defensive tackle for the UM Hurricanes in the early 1990's. This is when he was discovered by the scouts that were working in the NFL.
So how did he translate his skills on the field to the big leagues? He did not play as well as expected in his first season with the Dolphins. But he showed great promise in the next two seasons, allowing an average of 32 sacks during his career. Many people believed he had finally found his calling in the NFL.
What happened? Did he need to relocate to be a part of the Miami Dolphins organization? Or, was he cut loose by the Dolphins after they decided to let him go? Well, it appears as if it was the latter. Gino Neil moved into broadcasting but was unable to find work in this area.
He ended up in football, playing with the New York Jets for a year. Before the season was over, he decided it was time to move on to bigger and better things. He signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons as a defensive end. Unfortunately, he was cut after the season ended. The Miami Dolphins claimed him, and the search for a replacement became a hit and miss game.
Finally, in 2021, Neil was hired by the Seattle Seahawks. He has been with the team ever since. In fact, he became the backup offensive line coach for the team this past season. Some may say that he has been a success because the Dolphins let him go. I wonder if the team thought they were taking a chance on him, given his age and his off season departure from Miami.
This past July, Neil suffered a heart attack. His condition has been upgraded to fair care, but he will not be able to practice until he is fully recovered. Some have criticized the Dolphins for letting him go and failing to give him a chance to prove he can still play. Even with his condition, Neil has been a success, racking up 6 sacks and forcing multiple turnovers in a win against the Dallas Cowboys. Hopefully this will help his reputation as a sack machine.
So where does Neil rank among other ex-Dolphins greats? In my opinion, he is a clear top dog. Some may disagree, but I agree with Neil. Everyone knows Miami Dolphins Football has been through a lot of ups and downs over the years. It would have been unfair to put Joe Philbin into such a tough spot. But, at least Miami has kept hold of one of the best coaches in the game, giving them the stability they need.
If you want to know how a guy like Gino Neil can still manage to be on top of his game, just ask his teammates. They'll tell you. Even if you're not a football expert, you can probably understand what they are talking about. So make sure you take the time to read the latest book by Neil.
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