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Amid new faces at tight end, MarQueis Gray trying to find niche in Dolphins' offense

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins tight end MarQueis Gray looks around his position meeting room this year and sees plenty of changes. Out are former tight ends Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims, and in come Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano, who have 17 combined years of experience.

Gray, the lone holdover at tight end from 2016, is trying to find his niche during Miami’s organized team activities and minicamp. He filled in admirably off the bench last year when injuries hit the position and notched a career-high 14 receptions for 174 yards. That earned Gray a two-year extension toward the end of last season.

But Gray’s role in 2017 is still to be determined now that Thomas, a former Pro Bowler, and Fasano will have prominent jobs in Miami’s offense. Still, Gray is trying to learn all he can from the two veterans and make sure he’s ready when his number is called.

“It’s a lot of help, mainly [for] myself,” Gray said. “I’m still new to this tight end thing and having those two veteran guys, Fasano and J.T., in that room is helping out a lot. Learning different tricks and trades of playing the tight end position as well as being able to run routes, they’re helping out our young guys a lot.”

The journeyman tight end has played for four teams in five years but appears to have settled in with Miami.

At a time when tight ends are becoming more specialized, the Dolphins like the fact that Gray is a combo tight end who is equally adept at blocking and receiving. That offers flexibility to replace Thomas (receiving) or Fasano (blocking) if there is an injury or either player needs a rest.

"That’s why I take a lot of time in the playbook," Gray said. "Just in case somebody were to go down, I have to make sure I know that play, so I can be one of those guys they can have no problem [saying], ‘Q, go play this.’ That’s one of the things I believe has kept me around in the NFL so far.”