Dolphins' Vernon Carey gets his playoff dream in fifth season

DAVIE — Offensive tackle Vernon Carey got home around 1 a.m. Monday after the Dolphins' victory over the New York Jets gave them the AFC East title.

"(My wife) was knocked out," he said at Dolphins camp Monday morning. "She just recognized I was in the bed and she was like, 'Babe! You're in the playoffs!'

"And I was like, 'Yeah, I've been waiting five years to hear that.' It was a great moment," said Carey, a Miami native and University of Miami product who was drafted in the first round by the Dolphins in 2004.

After last season's 1-15 finish, the playoffs seemed a lifetime away. Just getting through the 2007 season was difficult, cornerback Andre Goodman said.

"We got to like Week 8 you start counting down like, 'C'mon, we've still got eight more to go,' " Goodman said. "You're just trying to get through the day. I didn't feel a lot of energy, a lot of fire.

"When it got close to Week 16, we're just saying, 'Can we get one?' so we don't go down in history as far as 0-16. And once we got that one, it was a relief. It was almost over."

That win came against the Baltimore Ravens, the Dolphins' opponent in Sunday's first-round playoff game. That lone victory in 2007 didn't make up for the misery of the season, Carey said.

"It was the worst feeling of your life," said Carey, who is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. "It makes you think twice about what you're doing. Like, is this really worth it? It just took everything out of you.

"To come back this year and do what we're doing now, it recharges you and it makes you cry because you know where you came from."
Goodman said he is looking forward to a big crowd for Sunday's game, which was declared a sellout Monday, the same day that tickets went on sale.

"To be here in the playoffs with a chance to win a playoff game at home, I want to see a packed house," said Goodman, a third-year Dolphin. "I haven't seen that stadium packed since I've been here. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited."