[anyclip pubname=”2103″ widgetname=”0016M00002U0B1kQAF_M8036″]
While the vast majority of NFL players utilize late June for rest, rehab and relaxation, there’s a group who add another aspect to their offseason off-time.
One member of the Miami Dolphins, cornerback Nik Needham, has had a rather busy summer so far, himself.
Not only has he been rehabbing a 2022 Achilles injury ahead of schedule, but he’s also been almost equally busy in his off-field endeavors. The 2019 undrafted free agent has quite a story to tell, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing in a variety of ways.
Much like his versatility on the field, the dynamic defensive back is showing his repertoire of philanthropic work, which is almost a non-official necessity for Dolphins players.
The Miami organization has always been at the forefront of charitable and community efforts, instituted, of course, by the late, great, Don Shula. It’s no coincidence that Needham, as well as a slew of current Dolphins, have the type of character that would have made Coach Shula proud.
Saturday morning in his hometown of Orange County, California, Needham returned to his old stomping grounds with childhood and current best friend, fellow defensive back Jaylinn Hawkins.
Hawkins has been with the Atlanta Falcons since they selected him in 2020 in the fourth round. The tandem has been friends since senior year of high school and held a free football skills camp for over 200 kids, grades 3-12.
Returning to Buena Park High School, the young defensive backs held numerous sessions in the early morning through the late afternoon full of drills where Needham, Hawkins and a crew of football coaches educated the players, while a professional film crew documented the day.
Not only were the cameras rolling, Needham’s agency, “Athlete’s First,” provided another organization, www.DrugFreeWorld.org, to educate the youth on the dangers that could be lurking off the field.
In addition to the free camp, Needham has been creating his own foundation for his football life, literally and figuratively. He and his mom Shannon recently launched 4DFam.org.
Their mission is to spread awareness to youth on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, along with helping teens in setting goals, working hard and staying focused, while encouraging teens to communicate with their families about mental health issues.
It’s this mindset that the Needhams take very seriously, and part of their individual tales are truly those of perseverance, faith and, ultimately, the success of a lifetime worth of never stopping to achieve one’s goals.
A microcosm of his foundation, Needham lives what he preaches, and indeed, he does that as well. Adding public speaking to his skill set, Needham has taken to the microphone. He’s engaged in several public speaking appearances, all guiding youth on and off the field.
The camp was a tremendous success, as Shannon proudly said, “It was an amazing day; football, fun, and family!”
As for Needham, who’s right back at it with his training, was certainly proud of what he and Hawkins produced.
“So glad we could give back to the kids after all we’ve been blessed with,” the cornerback stated.
Adding to this, Needham was thankful for Drug-Free World, saying “We appreciated all of their education and support.”
Needham enters his fifth season in the NFL and with the Dolphins and is on his second re-signed contract with the club.
In his career, the boundary-turned-slot-specialist defensive back has tallied 192 tackles, 25 passes defended, six interceptions and three sacks. One of those interceptions was taken for his “Nik-6” touchdown back in 2021 against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
Needham and the Dolphins return to the practice field when training camp begins in late July.