DAVIE, Fla. – There was a time Kiko Alonso was a legend.
With election season approaching, who can forget when he received a write-in vote for mayor of Buffalo?
"I remember that one," Alonso said Friday. "Friends and teammates would always say, 'Look at this (expletive).' I would always just laugh. That was a long time ago."
That was in his rookie season of 2013, but life comes at you fast. Alonso has gone from the toast of Western New York to NFL vagabond, currently on his third team in three seasons.
After being traded from the Bills to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2015 season, he got dealt again this year to the Miami Dolphins.
"I was surprised, but I just wanted to play football," Alonso said of his reaction when he found out the Bills had traded him for LeSean McCoy. "I didn't see it coming, but it is what it is."
Alonso's rookie season is one Bills fans won't soon forget. He finished with a ridiculous 159 tackles, and four interceptions – all of which came in the first four games.
"I started off hot," he said after the Dolphins wrapped up practice Friday. "Our record wasn't that great, but it was a good time."
Alonso inspired a movement on social media – "The Legend of Kiko Alonso." T-shirts were made, a Twitter hashtag took off and jerseys were, uh, acquired during the frenzy.
"It’s a great fan base," he said. "I still have a lot of friends there. I remember that stuff. That stuff was funny."
Alonso's career in Buffalo was undone by a torn ACL he suffered while working out on his own prior to the start of the 2014 season. With the emergence of Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham, he became expendable. When the Bills had an opportunity to acquire McCoy, they jumped at it.
Alonso's one and only season in Philadelphia was also sidetracked by a knee injury in the season opener. He eventually played in 11 games, finishing with 43 tackles and one interception.
"It was difficult," he said of bouncing back from both injuries. "It took me a while to get to where I was fully back to 100 percent, but that’s football. Injuries happen and you’ve just got to bounce back from them. I feel as good as I’ve ever felt."
That's showing up on the field. Alonso has started all six games for Miami and has already racked up 56 tackles.
Bills coach Rex Ryan was involved in the decision to trade Alonso, but has been impressed with what he's seen from him in Miami.
"He’s always been a guy that can run and hit," Ryan said. "Very instinctive player."
Alonso, who has Cuban heritage from his father and Colombian roots on his mother's side, has found South Beach to be a good fit.
"I feel right at home here," he said.
Alonso showed in the season opener against Miami that he was fully recovered from his injuries, both of which were to his left knee. He tracked down Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael on a lateral to prevent what looked like it could have been a big gain.
"The first thing I thought was: 'Oh, no. We're in big trouble,' " cornerback Byron Maxwell, who came over in the trade from Philadelphia along with Alonso, told ESPN. "Then I saw someone burst across the field. It all happened so quickly, I didn't know who it was. I only recognized Kiko when he got up after bringing down Michael. I knew the new kid was fast, but I never imagined he was that fast. We're lucky he's on our side."
Dolphins coach Adam Gase has been similarly impressed, telling ESPN "Sometimes all you need is a guy like him who inspires others, and then you have 11 fireballs behind the ball."