Coach Brian Flores joined the Miami Dolphins this off-season after spending 15 seasons with the New England Patriots. Photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins
DAVIE, July 25 (UPI) -- Kendrick Norton's off-season car accident shocked the NFL as players learned the young Miami Dolphins defender had to have his arm amputated, but the reaction of Dolphins coach Brian Flores has impressed his team.
Flores and the Dolphins had their first training camp practice Thursday in Davie, Fla. It was also the first time the coach fielded questions regarding Norton's accident. The 22-year-old defensive tackle lost his left arm in the early morning Fourth of July car accident in Miami. The crash ended Norton's football career.
"He's in great spirits," Flores said of Norton. "The way he's handled the situation, it's amazing. It's a testament to Kendrick, his support staff. We'll support Kendrick any way we can."
Flores supported Norton day after day following the accident, visiting his hospital room. He still speaks to Norton frequently during his recovery process. Norton posted a photo on Instagram of himself with the first-year head coach during a recent visit to Hard Rock Stadium.
"They constantly show how much they are behind me," Norton wrote on the post.
Several of Norton's former teammates were impressed by the coach's dedication to Norton. Flores cut his summer vacation short in order to visit the injured defender.
"It just shows that he cares a lot," Dolphins defensive tackle Akeem Spence said.
The Dolphins waived Norton Sunday with a non-football injury designation, meaning he will still be paid. The NFL is covering all of Norton's medical costs and he is receiving medical benefits for the entire season.
Norton had six surgeries on the arm and was released from the hospital July 18. He was cited by Florida Highway Patrol for causing the car crash, as a result of making an improper lane change. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured in the crash.
Flores joined the Dolphins after spending 15 seasons with the New England Patriots. He brings some of Bill Belichick's nuance to South Florida. Dolphins players are also noticing that intensity.
"He has a great demeanor. I think he is very genuine when he talks. I think the message that he is trying to bring to get across, you know where it's coming from," Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
"He's got the attention, command and the respect of the team right now. That's really important and it's a hard thing to do so early on."