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Kingsport's Kilgore free agent for first time in NFL career

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 17, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Daniel Kilgore is a free agent for the first time in his NFL career after the Miami Dolphins opted not to pick up the final year of his contract.

Kilgore, 32, started 17 games at center for the Dolphins the past two seasons. The former Dobyns-Bennett and Appalachian State standout replaced All-Pro Mike Pouncey after arriving in Miami from the San Francisco 49ers in 2018.

Hampered by injuries, Kilgore played in just four games in 2018 before making 13 starts last season when he was healthy.

Graded the league’s 21st-best center by Pro Football Focus, Kilgore is awaiting word while his agent talks with other teams.

For the time being, Kilgore is hanging out with family and working on the farm in Kingsport.

Is there a place you want to go play or don’t want to go next?

“I’ve never been in a free-agent position, always been under contract. The approach I’m going to take going into my 10th season is not to be greedy who I’m going to play for. Maybe if you’re Tom Brady, you can be greedy. For my situation, it’s whoever wants to take a chance on me where I can play one more year and suit up.”

You were mentioned as a leader in Miami’s locker room and were a team captain. Did the move surprise you?

“Not really, I know the direction the team was going. It was important for them to keep me at the time and they got what was needed from me. They’re sticking to the script of getting younger with their players and finding guys to build their organization with. I did what was asked of me.

“Unlike the majority of businesses in the world, you can’t be shocked by anything in our business. This career is short-lived for most people. I wasn’t too surprised, but at the same time, it’s tough after you spend a whole season with that staff and teammates.”

What are the selling points about Daniel Kilgore your agent is making?

“It’s the tangibles. It’s being the leader, the captain that you need. Something that is really attractive about me is I’m not that expensive either. I’m not going to ask for $10 million per year. I’m somebody if you have a young quarterback that needs a veteran center, I can come in and lead.

“I will do what’s asked up front as a captain and offensive center to point and put the guys in the right situation. It’s doing the things you’re supposed to on a daily basis. I try to set an example whether it’s in the meeting room, in workouts or being on the field.”

How are some of your relationships with others around the league?

“Once teams talk to me, they will find out I have numerous friends in the coaching business throughout the league. They know the type of guy I am. I’m not going to be in the initial free-agent signings, and I’m OK with that. That means I can be at home that much longer with my daughter and where we have a second child on the way.

“Hopefully, I will find somewhere, but this thing has to run its course. My profession is just a small part of what is going on with everything now. I just have to be patient and any opportunity that comes around, I will be thankful for it.”

Does free agency change how you’re preparing for the upcoming season?

“This is what I do as a professional athlete and it’s my craft. You always have to be ready and to continue getting better. No matter what year you’re in, you try to take yourself to another level. I’m continuing to train and do what I’m supposed to as a professional.”

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