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Jay Ajayi 'excited to get into that lead role' for Eagles

Running back Jay Ajayi went from a featured role with the Miami Dolphins to a committee in Philadelphia after being traded in late October of the 2017 season.

Ajayi joined LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement as part of a three-headed backfield, and the trio helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl title.

Blount signed with the Detroit Lions during free agency and Clement returns, but Ajayi hopes to absorb a larger role, much like the one he had in Miami.

"Obviously, things have gotten a little shaken up in our room," Ajayi said, via Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I'm excited to get into that lead role, do what's needed of me and just go bull. It was kind of a year and a half removed from being 'the guy.' So I'm excited to kind of get back in that role and showcase again to the world what I can do."

Ajayi finished the 2017 regular season with 408 yards rushing and a touchdown on 70 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.

But he proved in 2016 what he could do in a workhorse role by totaling 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns on 260 attempts (4.9 yards per carry) -- the 260 carries ranked as the ninth-most in the league.

To give you an idea of how much the Dolphins leaned on Ajayi as a rusher in 2016, quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished second on the team with 39 carries, running back Damien Williams finished third with 35 carries and running back Kenyan Drake was fourth with 33.

Despite a desire to carry the load in Philadelphia, Ajayi will have competition for touches ahead of the 2018 regular season.

In addition to Clement's presence, the Eagles re-signed Darren Sproles, and in recent years they added Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood through the draft. Josh Adams signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason.

There could be incentive, however, for Ajayi to show what he can do in a featured role with the Eagles. Ajayi enters the final year of his contract, which pays a base salary of $1.9 million.

"Obviously, you understand what the stakes are going into this season," he told the Inquirer. "I'm not going to let it affect the way I carry out my business. Obviously, yeah, I understand that is something that will come to a crossroads at some point, whether it's during the season or at the end of the year."

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