He was perhaps the most coveted free agent in the 2022 offseason before he signed with the Dolphins following nine seasons with New Orleans Saints. He responded with back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns, but he’s dealt with injuries throughout his career. He’s played 14 or more games just three times in 11 career seasons and never played a full year. Since he joined the Fins, he’s played in 23 of a possible 34 regular-season tilts.
This year might well have been the most painful to trudge through.
“This season definitely was a challenge physically, probably this one more than the others this one stuck out,” he said. “I’m feeling well, though, healing up. I’ve just been resting, recovering; I haven’t been doing much since the playoffs.”
In the end, Armstead’s litany of injuries might prove to be an obstacle too arduous to overcome.
Nonetheless, it’s clear he would be heartsick giving up the game and believes he’s very much in the right spot with Miami.
“It’s just tough being away from the guys,” Armstead said of the mental toll of missing games and even practices. “Being away from that energy, that chemistry, that cohesiveness. That’s why we play the game. You know, you get into the huddle with your guys, you’re talking, you’re having fun, you’re making light of situations. Then on game day, you’re feeling that energy of that crowd, whether it’s home or away. It’s just an atmosphere that you cannot recreate. When you’re not playing, it’s an empty feeling. It’s hard to deal with.”
He’s not dealing with it this weekend, though. He’s enjoying the time in Orlando, Florida, as a Pro Bowler. He’s joined by five other Dolphins, providing ample example of the talented roster housed in Miami. After clinching back-to-back playoff trips for the first time since 2001, the Dolphins are on the upswing in Armstead’s view.
“Our expectations are at an all-time high and that’s exactly the environment and situation you want to be in,” he said. “I don’t want to be in a place that six wins is — no, no. It’s Super Bowl or nothing. That wasn’t the expectation when I signed in Miami; that’s the expectation now. So, I think our trajectory is headed in the right direction and we just have to finish the job.”
Though Armstead’s undecided on his future, it’s clear he still has championship aspirations.