BY JEFF FALK
When Jared Odrick straps on the pads, he’s playing football for himself, the Miami Dolphins and the Lebanon community. He’s also playing for his job.
Odrick, a native of Lebanon and a 6-5, 302-pound defensive end for the Dolphins, recently completed his third season in the NFL. It was the third of a five-year, $13 million rookie contract he signed with Miami after being selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
The average NFL career is about three years in length, and many around the league point to the second contract as being integral to an individual’s financial future and extended playing career. The level to which Odrick performs over the next two seasons will be critical to the next contract he is offered, whether it be by the Dolphins or another NFL franchise.
This season, Odrick, a product of Penn State, registered 35 tackles and five sacks for the Dolphins. In his professional career, Odrick has 58 tackles, 11 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
Miami went 7-9 during the 2012 campaign.
Competition for NFL roster spots is intense, and based primarily on performance. With younger, faster and stronger performers seemingly looking over their shoulders on a constant basis, NFL players are forced to prove themselves every week.
Odrick, a 25-year-old graduate of Lebanon High School, was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year during his senior season at Penn State. But Odrick broke his foot in the first quarter of his game with Miami in 2010, and missed almost his entire rookie season with injury.