Miami Dolphins’ Kenny Stills has a unique tradition at training camp

Kenny Stills, Dolphins receiver and part-time photographer, makes a couple of kids happy at training camp. (Hal Habib / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — After a two-hour workout in 90-plus-degree heat, nobody asks why Dolphins players make a beeline for their air-conditioned locker room and a cold shower.

But you have to ask why one Dolphin never does that.

A half hour (or more) after practice has ended, if you want to find receiver Kenny Stills, it’s easy. Check the fence that separates players from fans. Determined to break down that barrier, Stills heads there to sign autographs, chat with fans and take photos.

Not some days during training camp. Every day.

“I want them to know that the players care and they see that and we appreciate it,” Stills says. “It doesn’t take anything for me to go over there and stand around and sign autographs.”

For many fans, selfies with players have replaced autographs. So while Stills is given plenty of jerseys and caps to sign, he also gets handed cellphones set to camera mode. Not only does Stills pose for the pictures, he also serves as photographer.

“I’ve been doing it since last year,” Stills says. “I try and get the fans until the last one goes.”

Some exchanges are more memorable than others. A mother recently sent Stills a tweet saying she was having trouble getting her son to focus on schoolwork. She asked Stills for a retweet “to show my son that he needs to do a better job in school and that you care about that.”

Days later, they met at camp.

“I made him promise me that he’d be better in school if I gave him my towel,” Stills says. “You sometimes forget how much stuff like that means to people. It’s cool to be able to come out here and play football and have fun and be able to influence somebody else’s life.”

Since Stills’ father scouted in the NFL while he was growing up, you’d think Kenny had numerous opportunities for such encounters with pro players. Not quite. When he accompanied Pop on a scouting trip to Arizona, it was a trip he’d like to forget.

“I got really bad allergies and so I was sitting in the stands while he was scouting, just sneezing, sneezing, sneezing,” he says.

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