Dol­phins’ Stills lends ear to Kaeper­nick.

Stills reaches out to free agent QB Kaeper­nick

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Perkins Staff writer

MI­AMI BEACH — Kenny Stills hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind on so­cial is­sues, con­sid­er­ing the Dol­phins wide re­ceiver chose to kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them last sea­son.

Re­cently, he reached out to quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick, the pi­o­neer of the an­them kneel­ing move­ment, who has been un­able to find a job in the league this off­sea­son.

“Iwanted to tell him that I ad­mire ev­ery­thing that he’s been do­ing,” Stills said Fri­day at the Fins Week­end golf tour­na­ment at Mi­ami Beach Coun­try Club.

“I gave him my num­ber to reach out to say, ‘Hey, if there’s any­thing I can do to be a part, I’m here.’ ”

Kaeper­nick, who spent all six of his NFL sea­sons with San Fran­cisco, is a free agent and there’s wide be­lief that he hasn’t been signed by a team be­cause of his na­tional an­them protests and out­spo­ken­ness on so­cial is­sues.

Among Dol­phins play­ers, Stills, safety Michael Thomas, run­ning back Arian Fos­ter and line­backer Je­lani Jenk­ins all took part in sim­i­lar an­them protests last year, which they said was in­tended to bring at­ten­tion to so­cial in­jus­tices. Jenk­ins did it for one game, Fos­ter did it un­til re­tir­ing in Oc­to­ber, and Stills and Thomas did it the whole sea­son.

Stills, who fin­ished with 42 re­cep­tions, 726 yards and nine touch­downs, said he’s not sur­prised Kaeper­nick re­mains un­em­ployed.

“That’s just some­times the way things

“I wanted to tell him that I ad­mire ev­ery­thing that he’s been do­ing.” Kenny Stills, Dol­phins WR on reach­ing out to Colin Kaeper­nick

go,” Stills said. “Ob­vi­ously, I’m a sup­porter of his. He’s a great player, re­gard­less of the things he’s done off the field. I think he should be on a team.”

Stills, who won the Dol­phins’ Nat Moore Com­mu­nity Service Award for his char­i­ta­ble work last sea­son, said be­ing at events such as Fri­day’s golf tour­na­ment, which ben­e­fits City Year Mi­ami, has al­ways been a pri­or­ity.

“It was some­thing that was im­por­tant to me, es­pe­cially af­ter we took a knee, that I was out in the com­mu­nity,” he said. “It re­ally just helped me with a tough time we were go­ing through. I knew it­was com­ing af­ter tak­ing a knee. I just didn’t re­al­ize how bad it­was go­ing to be.

“Get­ting in the com­mu­nity, work­ing with the kids, was away that I felt like I could get out and­make a change. Iwant to be here in Mi­ami for a long time, and ob­vi­ously I signed my ex­ten­sion, so I’m go­ing to be here. Just mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity, mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the young kids’ lives, be­cause I know they’re the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. I know they’re go­ing to be run­ning this coun­try.”

As for the four-year, $32 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion, Stills said it con­firms the Dol­phins’ mes­sage that if play­ers work hard, the team will re­ward them.

“I think that was a big fo­cus of this team this off­sea­son— you get [line­backer] Kiko [Alonso] back, you get me back, you get [de­fen­sive end An­dre] Branch back,” Stills said. “The guys knowin this build­ing that if you work hard, you’ll be re­warded for it. I think that’s some­thing other play­ers around the league will no­tice.”

And just as Stills was one of the hard­est-work­ing play­ers last off­sea­son, ac­cord­ing to coaches, he hasn’t been rest­ing this off­sea­son, ei­ther. Coach Adam Gase and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Clyde Chris­tensen said Stills has taken even more of a lead­er­ship role in the wide re­ceivers’ room.

“I have the­most years in the league in our room, but we’re all pretty much the same age,” said Stills, 25, a fifth-year player who spent his first two sea­sons in New Or­leans. “I was lucky enough to come in the league with [wide re­ceiver] Lance Moore, [wide re­ceiver] Mar­ques Col­ston, play with [quar­ter­back] Drew Brees. I just watched what they did and I try to im­i­tate those things, be­cause those guys won a Su­per Bowl.

“Drew Brees is go­ing to be in the Hall of Fame. I just try to im­i­tate those things and try to bring them into the Dol­phins. And hope that we can go in that di­rec­tion.”

JOE CAVARETTA/STAFF FILE PHOTO

Dol­phins wide re­ceiver Kenny Stills said he’s not sur­prised ex-49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick re­mains un­em­ployed.

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