Football

Dolphins’ Kendrick Norton breaks silence following car crash; NFL steps in to pay medical bills

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, a former University of Miami standout, has broken his silence following a car crash that ended his football career last week, and is seeking financial help.

Norton, who has been hospitalized since the July 4 accident, posted an Instagram story photo on Monday of his right thumb up with a message: "I'm good thank you to everyone that checked on me!!! I'm good thanks for the prayers to God be the glory."

A GoFundMe account for Norton, who had his left arm amputated as a result of the accident, was created with a goal of raising $150,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, it raised more than $9,000 since its launch Monday night.

"Miami Dolphins player and Miami Hurricane Kendrick Norton has undergone three surgeries since a tragic car accident on July 3rd, including the amputation of his arm. He needs two more surgeries at the minimum, before he can proceed towards having a prosthetic," reads the account description created by Norton's representation First Round Management.

"Kendrick's football career has come to an end and his family is asking for any donation as soon as possible to help with medical bills moving forward."

The GoFundMe post was later updated after Norton was informed by the NFL that all of his medical expenses will be paid by the league.

"The NFL reached out to Kendrick (Tuesday) morning to let him know that all of his medical costs will be covered. This is great news, but with his career over and no source of income currently, this has put a tremendous amount of financial strain on Kendrick and his family. Any continued support is appreciated. Thank you all."

Norton, who currently remains on the Dolphins' 90-man roster, was scheduled to earn $495,000 in salary this year if he made the team's 53-man roster.

He likely will be placed on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list, which would give the Dolphins the option of paying his salary or not paying it. League rules allow teams to pay salaries for players with non-guaranteed contracts if they choose to.

Keeping Norton on the NFI list makes him eligible to remain on the Dolphins and the NFL's health insurance plan, while he rehabilitates his injuries and receives occupational therapy.

Norton's arm was amputated after his 2017 Ford F250 rolled over onto its roof after colliding with a concrete barrier at approximately 1:18 a.m. on July 3 on the Dolphin Expressway (State Road 836) westbound ramp, leading to the Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826), according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Norton also sustained a head injury in the accident, which involved a female passenger who also sustained non-life threatening injuries and another female driver, who did not suffer any injuries.

Norton, who played three seasons at the University of Miami, joined the Dolphins last December. He left UM early and was taken by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He spent all of last season on the Panthers' practice squad before Miami claimed him in December, but he didn't play in any NFL games last season.

Norton had 84 tackles (18 for loss), five sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery during his three seasons at UM.

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