PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The only people who don’t seem to be worried about Jay Ajayi’s impact in the Eagles’ locker room are Ajayi and the Eagles.
The Eagles made a big splash before Tuesday’s trade deadline as the acquired the star running back in a deal with the Miami Dolphins. Ajayi has put together impressive numbers during the 31 games of his career. However, rumors of locker room distractions and a rift with his former coaching staff in Miami had many wondering if the strong chemistry in the Eagles locker room would be disrupted. Ajayi said he isn’t worried about the talk of being a locker room troublemaker.
“Those are the criticisms that are out there,” said Ajayi. “I can only speak on how I view myself and I view myself as a team guy. I’m excited to be here on the Eagles and excited for this opportunity. That stuff at the end of the day is in the past.”
The Eagles believe a fresh start with a 7-1 team will provide an excellent opportunity. Head Coach Doug Pederson believes the strong culture which has already been established in the locker room will be a big reason why Ajayi will do well with his new team.
“We’ve established a culture on how we do things around here,” Pederson said. “I implore those guys to just embrace it and to bring him in. I’ve had a conversation with him, and we have to be open and honest and say, ‘Hey, this is how we do things around here,’ and welcome him in and get him up to speed.”
Quarterback Carson Wentz reached out to Ajayi after the trade was completed. Wentz is excited to see Ajayi join an already crowded backfield and also believes Ajayi will be able to fit in well with his new teammates.
“I think this move is something that I don’t think anyone is concerned about,” said Wentz. “I got a chance to speak with him. It’s seems like he’s a great fit. He’s a great guy and a heck of a ballplayer. I don’t see that being an issue and we have such great veterans so that if there is any of that, that’ll get squished real quick.”
Ajayi is hoping to squish several defenders in his Eagles uniform. Pederson cautioned that Ajayi will need time to get acclimated to the playbook and was not sure if he will be able to play on Sunday when the Eagles host the Broncos. Meanwhile, Ajayi is ready to do his part to help the Eagles continue with their championship chase.
“I strive to be great every day,” Ajayi said. “I’m excited to come into this talented room and join these running backs in achieving our goal in helping this team win the Super Bowl.”