Jason Jenkins of the Dolphins was the heart of the organization

Jason Jenkins walks through the rusty gate of a house in Little Havana. As usual, he doesn’t look like a corporate VP trying to save our community, one person at a time. He looks like a delivery man carrying a box in a hurry.

“Hello, here’s your turkey,” he said knocking on the door.

He rolled over, sweating in his Miami Dolphins shirt, after three hours of walking and driving to homes two days before Thanksgiving a few years ago.

“They asked for another turkey,” he told me, reading the to-do list in his hand. “We have a lot more to deliver today.”

You never know when you’ll hit the headlines. Jenkins is one today, gone at 47, the Dolphins’ senior vice president of communications and community affairs leaves behind not only his wife, Elizabeth and three children, but also a tearful organization. An entire community too.

Coach Mike McDaniel stood up after a preseason game against Philadelphia and said, his voice shaking and his eyes leaking, “Football pales in comparison to what all the people who have been really affected. The list is long.

The list included an old defensive end who met Jenkins when he arrived in early 2009, Jason Taylor, who was in tears when the game was televised on Saturday, saying, “We lost a good one.” And that list includes a young defensive end, Jaelan Phillips, who has dedicated his time to working with Jenkins in the community.

“One of the most amazing, selfless human beings I have ever met,” Phillips tweeted.

Those of us who are in the game, who get paid to watch games and see inside the teams, we’re looking for the right guys, the ones who understand the importance of sport, of course, but also who can grasp their place in the larger scheme.

Jason was one of the good guys. He got the Dolphins more involved in the community than any team in South Florida history. Partnership with minority restaurants in Miami Gardens. Outfit high school teams in Miami-Dade. Fundraising for cancer research. Serve as a bridge between the police and black youth. If there was a community or charity event in town, it seemed to be there.

That’s why the Dolphins won the NFL Community Service Award last year. That’s why other sports teams have called him for advice on their programs. It was Jason. He would make a dismissive gesture if you mentioned his good work. It was him too.

When his alma mater, Texas Tech, left him a message to call him one day about a start address, he thought they wanted some help getting in touch with the former teammate there- down, Zach Thomas.

“Never think that because we played on the same team, I was on the verge of being a player like him,” he said.

Texas Tech didn’t want Thomas. He wanted Jenkins to give the graduation speech in 2018. Do you now have the impact of his reputation? Understand the good word of his good work that people recognized?

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Miami Dolphins – The Flash of the Fins

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“Relationships, values, and courage — you need all three,” he told the Texas Tech class.

He had all three. They defined it. For years, looking at Jason’s good work, I’d say the Dolphins were a first-class organization everywhere but where people noticed them the most. The team was not good. He knew it, his 13 seasons here and not having a single playoff victory.

“We are working on it,” he said.

The last time I spoke with him was a few weeks ago at Dolphins practice. He sat down and wanted to know more about Bob Kuechenberg, who was a candidate for the Hall of Fame. I wanted to know more about the work he was doing providing equipment for high school teams.

“I’ll let you know when we’ve got it all sorted out,” he said.

We will not have this discussion. He tweeted something about Saturday night’s game just after noon. He left at kick-off at 7 p.m. The match continued, and so did the matches. But there was a hole in the night, just like there is in Les Dauphins.

A team isn’t just about the players you see on the pitch. It’s the people behind the scenes that you rarely see who form the fabric of the organization. Everyone on the Dolphins remembers delivering him a turkey, gear to a high school, or a player to talk to a group of kids. It was Jason. And all we can do today is cry.