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Dolphins find Bess is a heck of a catch

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Tuesday’s normally his Saturday, but as any parent of young children knows, days off don’t really exist. Actually, even before he became a father there was scarce down-time for Davone Bess, known for his work ethic while playing college football at the University of Hawaii.

Plus, this is a short work week for Bess, with a mid-week game coming up.

Still, the Miami Dolphins receiver took a short respite from studying pass routes to return a call from the islands — while helping his wife, Rachel, keep an eye on 2-year-old Kyrah, and Kingston, who makes six weeks tomorrow.

MANY OF us remember Bess for a consistently upbeat attitude and generous nature — as much as his quick feet and sticky hands that led to hundreds of catches in three seasons at UH.

In Miami and around the NFL he’s an emerging star, with an inspirational back story of perseverance. The nation is gradually learning about Bess, a slow-in-the-40, undersized free agent who overcame a rough childhood and stint in a youth detention center between high school and college.

He lost a scholarship to Oregon State, but Hawaii coach June Jones gave Bess a chance when he was convinced the confinement was a product of circumstance rather than character. Bess’ incredible body of work on the field and good citizenship off of it while at UH failed to earn him a spot in the NFL Draft two years ago, but he’s developed into a key player in the Dolphins offense — enough of a force to get paid the big money.

He hasn’t let last month’s restructuring of his contract to a three-year deal worth more than $9 million affect him. When he signed it, Bess said the first thing he was going to get was a new crib … no, not an expensive new house to display on MTV, but really, a crib — for Kingston.

"The only thing different is the (financial) security aspect," Bess said yesterday. "That’s the biggest difference. God forbid I get hurt, but at least there’s something for my family if that should happen."

And there’s something for others who need his help. For example, the pink cleats Bess wore during a Monday night game in October, which was breast cancer awareness month, sold yesterday for $1,025 in an online auction. The money goes to research for a cure.

"Breast cancer hits a lot of families, some people I know. Anything I can do I’m more than willing," he said.

PRO ATHLETES collect hometowns. Bess now has Oakland, where he grew up, Honolulu, and Miami. He does charity work in all three.

A week from Saturday, the day before a road game against the Raiders, Bess headlines a dinner gathering in the East Bay to help his alma mater, Skyline High.

The Davone Bess All-Star Luau is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 27 at a site to be determined on Oahu. It’s a benefit for the American Cancer Society (Hawaii/Pacific chapter).

"I’m excited to come back to my second home and about the opportunity to do something for the community," Bess said.

That sounds like a prepared statement, but it really isn’t. If you need a true measure of the man, consider his reply when an organizer asked how much he’d require for an appearance fee for the Skyline event: "Come on, man. You must be trippin’."

THE DOLPHINS have a winning record, 5-4, headed into tomorrow’s home game against the Chicago Bears. But that’s not good enough for Bess.

"Our main focus has to be fixing ourselves," he said. "We feel like we can be a force to be reckoned with. We just need to work toward making ourselves effective and efficient and eliminate negative plays."

Bess shares the team lead with three touchdowns. He is second to All-Pro Brandon Marshall with 48 catches (13th in the league) for 480 yards.

He’s very good at his job of receiving — without forgetting the importance of giving.

Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.

 

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