The NFL Films camera crew provided a crystal clear look at the moments before, during, and after Phillips suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury on Black Friday during an emotional 45 minutes on HBO Tuesday night.
Phillips, the standout third-year Miami Dolphins defender, first experienced disbelief and then gutting grief as he realized his Achilles was torn — an injury that comes with a recovery time of 9-12 months.
“I think my s— popped, my Achilles,” Phillips said as he laid on the field at MetLife Stadium.
Sadly, Phillips was right.
Miami Dolphins’ Jaelan Phillips Focus of Hard Knocks Episode 2
As the gravity of the injury sunk in, Phillips became emotional, and credit NFL Films for handling it with respect.
In fact, the production crew told his entire story well, beginning with his college days, when Phillips briefly retired from football after a series of injuries at UCLA.
The episode correctly pointed out that he was peaking as a professional in Year 3 and even captured Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel telling him pre-game Friday that he’s “about to be a household name after today.”
McDaniel was right — but in a way he never expected.
Hard Knocks recorded Phillips saying, “I want a sack real bad” before making that wish come true — his last big play prior to the injury.
The show also captured Phillips pawing at his right leg literally seconds before the injury, suggesting that something didn’t feel quite right.
In the episode’s final moments, Phillips was seen wheeling into the team’s training room on a medical scooter and Hard Knocks broadcasted his first on-the-record comments since the injury.
“I was literally just in my stance, doing my get off, when I was pushing off, I felt like someone was stepping on me,” Phillips said.
When he looked back and saw no one there, he knew something was seriously wrong.
“It was just disbelief,” Phillips said. “I was feeling on the top of the world. I was balling out…These last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve had the most confidence in my career.”
The raw emotion of football 💔 pic.twitter.com/tjNHR7k5kP
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 29, 2023
Phillips added that watching footage of his teammates surrounding him in concern on the field meant a lot. Dan Marino consoled his mother after the game.
“They were there for not just me, but my family as well,” he said.
“When this is all said and done, this is going to make me a stronger person because of it,” Phillips added. “I’m just trying to keep that positive mindset and start to attack rehab. Yeah, it’s going to be a long process, but I just know I’m a fighter. I’m going to keep fighting.”
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