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David Hinds: On a journey climbing from the bottom

After the Dolphins rookie minicamp last weekend, the personnel department brought the dozen or so players that were trying out into the team room. General Manager Jeff Ireland got in front of the group, thanked them all for their work and announced he was signing only one of them.

The general manager then dismissed everyone and one of his assistants grabbed that one player who still had no clue he was the one just selected.

Meet David Hinds. Outside Linebacker.

Hinds is the newest and perhaps most inspiring Dolphins rookie. He has a long, long way to go but he just made the leap from not being draft or signed as a free agent to getting a tryout -- a process that rarely turns into NFL success -- and now he's got a contract and a chance to live his dream.

"I didn't really understand at first," Hinds said. "I didn't really understand how the tryouts really went. But the guy came up to me after the meeting and I was shocked. Praise God, that's the first thing I felt. Praise God. I felt like going down with emotion, but I kept it together. God is amazing."

The Dolphins congratulated Hinds, explained what they expect of him, and signed him to a contract.

"I called my dad once I got to my car because he was praying for me and when we were watching the draft together he was down but didn't say anything because he didn't want me to feel bad," Hinds said. "I knew it bothered him a lot that I didn't get drafted so I called him and told him and it was great."

When the Dolphins announced the signing on Sunday it was almost an afterthought because it went out in the same media release as the more newsworthy and prominent Tyson Clabo signing. But that didn't seem to matter in Hinds' world.

His phone blew up.

"I didn't have to tell anybody because I was getting calls from all over the place," he said. "It was a great feeling. I was humbled by it, man.

"It is one of the biggest moments of my life. You don't know what to expect but this was what I wanted to do since I was a little kid. I get to stay home. This is where I'm from. It takes a lot of stress off going somewhere else while I'm trying to accomplish this goal."

Hinds will get his chance on special teams and at outside linebacker. He's not big at 6-0 and 223 pounds. But he is quick (4.7 in the 40) and smart.

"I'm not the biggest guy but my speed, my agility, my reaction time is good," he said. "I feel like I'm a good cover guy."

Hinds attended the regional and super regional combine. He didn't attend the one in Indianapolis. And then he relied on his work in front of Miami coaches to speak on his behalf. 

"Man, honestly I went out there and gave it my all," he said. "I wanted to learn. I wanted to compete. I just wanted to show the coaches that I could be good for the organization. And I prayed a lot. I stayed in my playbook. I felt that if I gave it my all, that's all I could do. I just gave everything I had and just waited for the results."

Said Ireland: "The hard work, attitude and attention to detail David showed during the weekend rookie orientation paid off. As a player invited to try out, David approached the whole process -- highlighted by his work ethic during practices and meetings -- with the type of characteristics that we are looking to add to the Miami Dolphins."

You have to pull for this kid now, no?

He shone even when the draft rejected him. He picked himself up when 32 teams told him time and again that he wasn't worthy of being picked. 

"I reacted positively," Hinds said. "It was just me, my dad and my mom. They didn't want to sit down. My mom started cooking and my dad was pacing back and forth and going in and out while doing things around he house. I was the only one that sat there and watched it. I prepped myself because they all told me I'd be either a seventh-rounder or undrafted. So I understood the process. I was ready for it. Regardless, I knew I had a chance to go into somebody's camp."

Hinds understood his chances weren't over. But he didn't really understand how far he had to go. The fact is he didn't get drafted and then the mad dash by teams to fill their rosters with undrafted free agents also passed him by. Trying out off the street was his last chance at, well, a chance.

"I didn't understand that a tryout was different from a free agent at first but after I talked to my agent, I got it. The whole process, I believed in myself. I know there's a plan for me. I feel l can play football so any opportunity I get, I'm going to make the most of it."

So how did Hinds get noticed?

"I went in there and focused on special teams. I focused on being the first person in and trying to be the last person out. I tried to give them my undivided attention, paid attention to the details, and anything they asked me to do, I tried to do it correctly and at 110 percent. I wanted to show them that I belong. And right now, I have to keep showing them that.

"They gave me the opportunity, so now I have to work toward trying to make the 53 man roster and represents the organization best I can."

Hinds is a local boy. Yes, he played at FAU but also is a product of Miami Edison High. He lived in a little apartment behind the plaza on NW 79th street.

"My parents have a shop on 54th street in Little Haiti," Hinds said. "I'd walk home from there."

Hinds played only one year of high school ball at Edison because he didn't qualify academically before his senior year. He still got a full college scholarship and then started for the Owls as a true freshmen.

"I understand I'm at the bottom," Hinds. "I know I've got a long way to go. But I also know how to work myself from the bottom to the top. I'm very humble and I'm going to work my tail off. This organization made a great decision and I'm going to prove them right."

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