He’s going to sign for every one of them, no doubt, and then he’ll head over to the bleachers to sign for whhoever’s left. Anyone who attends training camp will absolutely get a Stills autograph if they want one. This is the scene every single day, as The Post’s Hal Habib noted earlier this week.
This seems like the last thing anyone would want to do after practicing for two hours in South Florida in August. This is more than a publicity grab for Stills and it goes deeper than just being a nice guy. Since last year, he’s been on a mission to make himself accessible to this community.
“Honestly, I just want the fans here in Miami to see the love that we give them and hope it’s reciprocated,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of things people could be doing in their free time other than coming out here.
“I just want to bring that culture here where the city knows that we’re for them, and the team knows the city is for us. It’s just the right thing to do. They come out here and spend time with us and they sit in the sun, so why wouldn’t we show some love to them?”
These are legitimate interactions. Stills is here to talk, and he appreciates when fans engage him beyond wanting his signature or begging him to give away every piece of his gear. He’s interested in making relationships.
The discussions are all over the place.
He’s somewhat polarizing after protesting during the national anthem last season—he also won the team’s community service award for hosting a town hall with law enforcement, coaches and community leaders along with giving significant time toward hospital visits, school appearances and Make-A-Wish events—and he opts to keep it moving when he gets an occasional “rude” fan.
He gets random questions, most of them entertaining. One high schooler vowed he’d be his quarterback in a few years. He sees each of these exchanges as an opportunity to make the team more tangible for people.
“It’s just a good way to show people love and introduce myself to the people in this city,” he said. “I want them to support us and know us on a personal level. It’s easier to go to a game when you actually know somebody. Maybe some of these people don’t even know football, but they know me now, so now they want to come and watch and learn the game.”
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook