Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips' season ended in Week 12, when he tore his Achilles. The 24-year-old was in his third year in the league and putting up his best career numbers yet. In eight games, he had 43 tackles, 11 quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and recorded his first interception.

He has taken a positive approach to his recovery, as he looks to make his return. As he is working towards getting back on the football field, the Dolphins have a big decision to make regarding the former No. 18 overall pick. 

Miami has a deadline of May 2 to choose if they will exercise the fifth-year rookie option for the linebacker. It will cost the Miami $14.6 million for Phillips' fifth-year option.

Right now, Phillips said he is just focusing on what he can control. 

"Been locked in and just motivated to get back for the season," Phillips said (via NFL.com). "I guess the biggest thing I've taken out of it is just understanding that God has a bigger plan and sometimes life, things happen that it's hard to find a reason why, but why doesn't really matter, it's how you respond. For me, just being able to keep my head up throughout this process and find some silver linings and just understand that I can use this time to improve on other aspects of my life. It's been great so far."

In his three years in the NFL, Phillips has 146 combined tackles, 58 assistant tackles, 22 sacks and one interception.

His effort to get back on the field has included rehabbing with linebacker Bradley Chubb, who tore his ACL in Week 17. 

"We've been pushing each other hard," Phillips said. "We love each other, and we're just motivating each other always and just getting each other right."

This type of injury is not one Phillips has experience with, saying it is "definitely different."

"It's something that's kind of new to me because I've never had a lower-extremity injury like that -- long-term, at least. So it's been cool, it's been a new experience learning my body and figuring out what to do is best for me. So it's been great," Phillips said (David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel).

The Dolphins defense will look different next season, with the team expected to part ways with cornerback Xavien Howard and the release of linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah. Phillips discussed the changes, saying, "It's going to be tough."

"Me, personally, Emmanuel was somebody who had me under his wings since I came in as a rookie," Phillips said. "It's really unfortunate to see him go, but the team's going to rally around each other. Definitely going to miss my brother. Same thing with X [Xavien Howard]. Those two were staples on this team for quite a while."