BY ADAM H. BEASLEYabeasley@MiamiHerald.com
Karlos Dansby is still four months away from the chance to start earning his five-year, $43 million contract.
But in the heat of South Florida last week, Dansby laid the groundwork for the next-best thing: earning the respect of his new teammates.
The inside linebacker, who signed with the Dolphins in March after six seasons in Arizona, is expected to be the leader of Miami's new-look defense under coordinator Mike Nolan.
But he knows that leaders are made, not just paid.
``You have to do that by actions, not by words,'' Dansby, a stout run defender and dangerous pass-rusher, said while coming off the field after the Dolphins' organized team activity Wednesday. ``I'm out here right now, just trying to prove myself.
``It's being disciplined in your studying, taking care of your body, being healthy, being on the field, being in front of guys. Making all the plays you're supposed to make.''
So far, so good.
In his first week of full-team practice, Dansby already earned the praise of his coach and teammates with his work ethic -- in terms of studying and in the weight room.
And as for his production on the field?
``He really impressed me [his first practice], getting his hands on the football one time, stripped the football another time, made a great jump on the ball,'' Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said.
``My history, playing against him, the ball kind of finds him. That's a good problem to have. [In practice] he runs downhill, makes a play in the backfield, a tackle for loss.''
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