Miami Dolphins

A man, a van and a plan: Kenny Stills’ very hippie (and selfless) offseason

Kenny Stills, with his ambitious offseason plan, is well on his way to winning the team’s community service award for a third straight year.
Kenny Stills, with his ambitious offseason plan, is well on his way to winning the team’s community service award for a third straight year. ctrainor@miaiherald.com

Kenny Stills can’t wait to get out of town — but not because of the Dolphins’ disastrous 2017 season.

Rather, the team’s most socially active player wants to take his act on the road, hippie-style.

Stills owns a 1970s Volkswagen bus. In the coming weeks, he’s going to cram in some buddies and hit the road.

Destination unknown — for now.

“Right now I’m putting in a little plan to do some traveling in the country, hitting some of the states and doing some volunteering and some community work,” Stills said Monday, as he cleaned out his Dolphins locker for the year. “We’ve [been] playing and the season hasn’t really ended, so I haven’t been able to finish the plan; but basically, I want to drive my bus to a couple of the states close and volunteer and see how I can see some of the issues that people are dealing with in other states.”

Stills is from California, and his initial vision was to go cross-country. Then he looked at a map and reconsidered. Getting home could take a month, the way he envisions his altruistic road trip.

So he probably will stick to Southern states, but the whole plan is fluid.

“I want to find some grass-roots organizations that need the help or might need the recognition, and reach out to them and come and lend a helping hand in any way that I can,” Stills said. “The whole idea kind of would be to film the trip, let people track the trip and then possibly collect donations while we go on the trip. Then, at the end of it, being able to put all of that money back into the organizations that we stopped and visited with and worked with throughout the journey.”

This is just the type of do-good worldview that has earned Stills, who just finished his third season in Miami, the Dolphins’ community service award in each of the past two years.

Stills, who gained national attention for kneeling during the national anthem before games to bring awareness to inequality in the criminal justice system, is also the Dolphins’ Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.

But taking a knee is just a small part of who Stills is, and what he does. He helped organize local police ride-alongs to help foster dialogue and understanding, a program that has since spread to five other NFL teams. He also hosts pre-game community tailgates involving local student-athletes and their parents, coaches, community leaders, police officers and military personnel.

Miami Dolphins players, Michael Thomas, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills comment on their protest before the Jets vs Dolphins game at MetLife Stadium.

And he has also been a pretty darn good player, too. Stills ranked second among Dolphins in catches (58), receiving yards (847), yards-per-catch (14.6) and touchdowns (6) in 2017. He finished just 140 yards behind Landry for the team lead, despite catching 54 fewer passes.

He did all that despite having a torn tendon in one of his fingers. Stills said he will not need surgery on the injury.

“I’m sure there are areas of improvement,” Stills said. “I’m sure there are areas that I got better from last year. I’ve just got to get a chance to watch all of the film. I like watching the TV copies. Just get an opportunity to see how I played. I know that right now, off the top of my head, I can think about things that I want to improve on and my goals for next year. I’ve just got to get back to work and start preparing myself for next season.”

But first, the open road beckons.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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