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Mike Preston

Mike Preston: Little-known Ravens CB Khalil Dorsey has the special gift of giving | COMMENTARY

Because of the high volume of injuries this season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh has often talked about the heart of his players. But it’s possible the biggest heart on the roster belongs to a player who has yet to suit up this season.

His name is Khalil Dorsey.

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Who?

He is an undrafted and second-year cornerback out of Northern Arizona, a Football Championship Subdivision school. He suffered a shoulder injury before the first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints and was put on the injured reserve list for the second straight year.

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But if you are a person around Baltimore and involved in the community, you’ve probably met Dorsey. In this season of holiday giving, few have given more to the city within the past year than the Southern California resident.

Since late September, Dorsey has either sponsored, contributed or appeared at nine of the Ravens’ charitable events. He hasn’t been able to get onto the field much, but he’s worth a fortune off it.

“Khalil has gone above and beyond all season long,” said Drew Meyer, the Ravens’ community relations director. “In September, he told us he wanted to get involved in the community. He did not have any specific focus, but he just wanted to give back. All while balancing his rehab, team responsibilities and personal schedule, Khalil has never said no to an event. He always arrives early and will stay longer than what is asked of him. There have been several occasions that Khalil has rearranged his personal schedule because he did not want to miss a single one of our events.”

It’s refreshing to hear about these types of players.

A lot of the top players around the league start foundations. Their purposes might be sincere, but foundations also provide tax breaks. Each day, we see, read or hear about troubled or disgruntled players, and how they complain about the lack of playing time or getting paid properly.

Many do great things. Others are involved in domestic abuse cases, lie about being vaccinated or drive while intoxicated.

Dorsey’s focus has been on charitable events, like providing gifts for nine patients at the Ronald McDonald House as they go through treatment. He was going to be in attendance to wrap the presents and scoop ice cream Friday until the NFL put out new COVID protocols that prohibit his visit.

On Nov. 22, Dorsey was one of several players, along with former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, to distribute turkeys and side dishes to the students of Green Street Academy and the Hilton Rec Center. A day earlier, alongside nonprofit the B.A.M. (Black America Movement) Project, Dorsey helped collect new or gently worn clothing for Baltimore city community members.

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He never stops giving.

“I will say that Khalil has stepped up all season long, joining us for Ravens community initiatives on several Mondays, and also looking to do initiatives on his own that we have been able to support,” said Heather Darney, the Ravens’ vice president of community relations. “There’s not a specific cause that he has focused on, but he simply believes in the importance of helping others all year long.

“Being injured can place stricter demands on a players’ schedule as they are working through rehab, but Khalil has consistently worked around those football obligations to ensure he can still give back. We’re really proud of him.”

It’s not like Dorsey does it for the recognition. He isn’t a big name on the roster like wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown or cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Shoot, a lot of the people he visits don’t even know he is a Raven.

“Almost every time, they ask me, ‘Are you really a Raven?’” Dorsey said with a laugh. “I just say, ‘It’s OK, I am No. 31, injured this year and will be coming back strong next season.’ Then I quickly change the subject and see what the kids are into. They are crazy about football and they know so much about the players. It’s jaw-dropping at times.”

But there is another favorite question.

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“They ask, ‘You are teammates with Lamar, right?’” Dorsey said. “Then you see a smile on their face.”

Dorsey probably has a bigger smile. He learned the art of giving through his dad, Tommie, a parole officer who used to take him and his older brother to a soup kitchen when they were younger. They also had to cut the grass.

His father also started an organization called “Friends Giving Back,” where they would sponsor a family or give gifts such as backpacks before the beginning of the school year.

“That soup kitchen was an eye-opener,” Dorsey said. “My dad always taught me at a young age that you got more than one pair of shoes on your feet. Giving back is through the heart. I just think it is the right thing to do.”

Dorsey’s humility is clearly evident. He is soft-spoken and appears to have a deep appreciation for family, especially for his mom, Lucy. Dorsey, 23, has started his own clothing brand, “Thru the Pain,” which he says embraces the trials and tribulations all people go through.

In a sense, Dorsey is going through his own rough time. The Ravens originally placed him on the practice squad at the start of last season, but he was elevated to the active roster in Week 3 and played in five games before a shoulder injury against the Indianapolis Colts sidelined him for the season.

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He was making progress in the offseason and training camp until a torn labrum forced him to the sideline again. With all the injuries the Ravens have had in the secondary this season, this would have been the perfect time for him to show what he could do.

At Northern Arizona, Dorsey had 187 total tackles and eight interceptions, and broke up 41 passes in 40 starts.

“I try not to look at it [tribulation] that way,” said Dorsey, a Christian. “God has a plan for me, I am on his time. I might want to be ready right now, but he has something greater for me. I just have to be patient and wait.”

Not really. He is already doing great things.


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