Kendrick Norton has been around the Dolphins' training facility several times since he tragically lost his left arm in a car accident in early July, and he expressed his gratitude to the organization when he made another visit Friday.
The Dolphins have kept Norton on the Reserve / Non-Football Injury list all season, but their efforts have gone beyond paying his full salary.
"They do so much in the community," Norton said. "Anytime I call them, they ask, what do you need? They never ask, how much? They just ask, what do you need? You need toys? OK, we 'll have them ready for you. Do you want me to drop them off? Anything I need they've been so willing to help and be there in the community.
"That's meant a lot. Everything I need they jump for me to help with the community. They have to be one of the top 10 teams in the league, top five teams, if not No. 1 with their community service outreach. And they do so much in the community down here. If anyone just goes and researches and then Googles it, they do so much in the community. I commend them for that. "
Norton has started a foundation to help young amputees — it's called the Kendrick Norton Angels Initiative — and has started a toy drive.
Norton, who was hoping to earn a roster spot as a defensive tackle and had recently completed the offseason program with the Dolphins, said he's undergone about a half-dozen operations since the accident.
But he says he doesn't need any more surgeries and his next step will be deciding who will be fitting him with a prosthetic arm.
Head Coach Brian Flores visited Norton every day at the hospital following the accident and still has regular conversations with the former University of Miami player.
"I was going to the games at the beginning of the year, but I had to stop for some family issues," Norton said. "Had to handle some stuff, so I couldn't come out of the house much. Other than that , I try to get up here (to the training facility) as much as I can. I love being around the guys. They've very accepting. Every time I see them, they run up to me on the practice field, talk to me and greet me, and stuff like that. I still talk to Coach and a lot of people in the building, Kaleb (Director of Player Engagement Kaleb Thornhill), different guys like that. "
He was asked what message he would have for other Dolphins players in light of his situation.
"Take advantage of your opportunities," Norton said. "Every opportunity, take it like it's your last because in the NFL it really could be your last opportunity. You don't know if you're in practice today if you're going to come in and then your iPad is gone out of locker room and you're somewhere (else). Just really take advantage of every opportunity that you have and treat it like it's your last day because it very well could be.
"I didn't know my last practice was going to be my last practice, but I went out there, gave it everything I had. Walking away from football, I gave everything I had."