Hailing from Orange County, California, Nik Needham’s journey to Miami Gardens was far longer than just the 2,700+ miles between the two communities. Needham lived in four different cities and attended three different high schools as a youth before weathering a 1-23 storm his final two seasons with the UTEP Miners, only to watch seven rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft come and go without hearing his name called. The Miami Dolphins ultimately gave Needham an opportunity as an undrafted free agent and he has responded by developing into a key contributor among the team’s star studded secondary.
Diving into The Tank, Nik looks back on his early high school days and the struggles of jumping from school to school, while also trying to secure playing time (4:13), as well as the impact moving in with his father, renown QB Coach Steve Calhoun, had on his life both on and off the field (6:25). He explains how he was able to avoid losing focus during a 1-30 stretch between his final two college seasons and first seven games as a pro (7:44). Nik goes on to reveal how these experiences, as well as going undrafted and being cut in his first training camp have all become factors in his internal motivation and drive (10:52), and brings us into the Dolphins defensive back room where he has learned from Pro Bowl cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, and now will be coached by former Fins legendary corners Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain (14:51). Just having recently signed his restricted free agent tender, Nik reflects upon where he has come from, and begin able to give back to the most important people in his life (24:32).
Contributors to this episode include Sean Todd aka DJ Prēc, Alex Bitchatchi, and Miami Dolphins Productions. Theme song created and performed by The Honorable SoLo D.