Carlos Dunlap has been active in multiple communities this summer and indications are he will be just as active in the NFL this fall.
After signing a lucrative contract extension with the Cincinnati Bengals last summer that has now landed him on the Forbes Top 100 list of highest paid athletes, the 6-6, 280-pound defensive end created the Carlos Dunlap Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to ensure underprivileged youth understand the importance of higher education and have better access to that education.
The Fort Dorchester High School graduate recently spread his foundation’s message to youth in both Cincinnati and his hometown of North Charleston.
Dunlap, who ranks as Forbes’ 12th highest paid football player for 2014, teamed up with fellow FDHS graduate and current St. Louis Ram Robert Quinn in June to host approximately 200 youngsters for the annual Twin Towers Football Camp in North Charleston.
This year they were joined by FDHS graduate Byron Maxwell (Seattle Seahawks) and Dunlap’s former Bengals teammates Michael Johnson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Jeromy Miles (Baltimore Ravens).
All the campers received a T-shirt, football, drawstring bag, lunch and time with the players.
“Basically the camp is a good opportunity for me, Robert and Byron to come back and give back to the community,” Dunlap said in a video taped during the camp and now posted to his foundation’s website and YouTube.
“Growing up, I didn’t know about any camps like this and we were all fortunate enough to make it to the NFL, so now we are trying to open the door for (others).
“We try to teach them some football fundamentals, everything from tackling to footwork, to hard work and effort. We basically teach them core values they can use on and off the field.”
Dunlap also partnered with Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions last month to treat children from the Boys Hope Girls Hope organization to a trip to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. After the group watched the game from the Cincinnati Bell CBTS Riverboat Suite, Dunlap spoke with the students about overcoming obstacles and the importance of education.
Then Dunlap and some of his Bengals teammates gave the group a tour of the stadium.
According to nflplayers.com, the foundation plans to continue to grow its relationship with Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati as well as with various other charitable organizations in the area.
On the field, Dunlap has been an impact player for the Bengals.
His first year in the NFL he set the Bengals’ rookie sack record. During the 2013 season, he led his line in tackles with 58 and tied for the team lead for sacks with 7.5.
Dunlap heads into his fifth season with 27.5 career sacks, only 1.5 fewer than Cincinnati’s two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Coaches are hoping Dunlap will be even more important to the team this year. He is being asked to step into a new role that should place him right in the thick of the action next season.
While Dunlap and Quinn are Fort Dorchester’s Twin Towers, the Bengals’ version last season was Dunlap, at left end, and Johnson, at right end. With Johnson now in Tampa Bay, this spring Dunlap was asked to take snaps at both ends of the defensive line.
The concept isn’t foreign to Dunlap, who switched back and forth from each end position and sometimes lined up at tackle when he played for the University of Florida and helped the Gators win a national title.
Dunlap seems to be embracing his new role.
“Basically, with the reps you get more comfortable,” Dunlap told bengals.com. “That’s why we’ve got OTAs to communicate and to get adjusted to it and used to it. I haven’t done it since college, but I did it all throughout college. This is the only place I’ve played one side.
“I’m excited about being able to play both because it gives me different looks.”