He admires the personality of Ray Lewis and respects the athleticism of Rob Gronkowski.
If Dolphins tight end Charles Clay hopes to have a successful NFL career based upon who he looks up to then he’s on the right track.
The rookie, who was drafted in the sixth round this year, has had a great start considering he plays two positions.
“Where ever they need me, I’m pretty comfortable,” said Clay who is also a fullback.
“He made sure I wasn’t just a one-dimensional player which is one of the things I appreciate him for,” he said referring to recently-fired coach Tony Sparano.
Sparano was let go a day after the Dolphins lost to the Eagles in Week 14 – a surprising move according to Clay.
“He’s the guy who gave me the chance to play,” he said.
If Sparano isn’t able to land a job in the near future, his legacy will live on in the players he drafted this season.
While the credit could also be given to Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, Sparano as the coach had closer interaction with them and developed the young guys into the players they are today.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Clay. “He was a great coach but most of all he was a great person in general.”
Clay has shined this season and is expected to be a dominant player in the league for years to come.
In 13 games this year, he’s caught 15 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
For obvious reasons Clay looks up to tight ends like Aaron Hernandez, Chris Cooley and Dallas Clark.
But the player he’s been most impressed with is Gronkowski who set the NFL record for most touchdown receptions in a single season two weeks ago.
“It’s no doubt about it,” Clay said when asked is Gronkowski the guy he looks up to the most.
“You want to always try to be the best and if you’re not playing to be the best, I don’t know what you’re playing for.”
As far as his respect for Lewis goes, Clay has high regard for the Baltimore linebacker’s leadership skills especially the way in which he motivates his teammates.
“He’s one of those guys that when he talks you want to listen to him,” said Clay.
While the Arkansas native is fascinated with what Gronkowski has achieved this season, he respects Lewis for how he carries himself off the field a whole lot more.
“Lewis is my favorite player hands down,” he said.
Clay, however, wants to build his own legacy, and if this year is any indication as to what the future holds then he’s well on his way to accomplishing his goals.