|Date of birth:January 20, 1977|
|Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Undrafted in 2001|
|No regular season or postseason appearances|
|* Pittsburgh Steelers (2001)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|* Super Bowl Champion (XLIV)|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Darnell Joseph Dinkins (born January 20, 1977) was most recently the tight ends coach for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights football team. Dinkins was formerly an American football tight end for the New Orleans Saints in the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Pittsburgh.
A standout quarterback and linebacker at Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dinkins was named City League MVP by both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Courier and a member of the 1995 Big 33 Team. As a senior, he rushed for 435 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries and threw 113 passes for 1,256 yards and ten touchdowns. On defense, he had 86 tackles, three knockdowns, four sacks and four fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown).
Dinkins attended the University of Pittsburgh as an undergraduate. He started at free safety for three years while at Pittsburgh and also saw time at wide receiver and linebacker for the Panthers. He started all 11 games at free safety, finishing second on the team with 78 tackles (49 solo) in 1998, also posting six pass deflections, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. Dinkins started his career with the Panthers as a quarterback before shifting to the defensive backfield.
Semi Professional Career
Dinkins played for the Pittsburgh Colts, a minor league football team in North American Football League in 2001. He attended a pro workout in the Minneapolis Metrodome on September 15, 2001. The workout led to a contract with an arena football team, after which he was signed by the New York Giants and allocated to the Rhein Fire.
New York Giants
In 2002, Dinkins was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and was allocated to NFL Europe where he played for the Rhein Fire. When he returned to the Giants, he saw action in two games, missing the final 13 games after breaking a bone in his foot. He was inactive for games 4-7 before being placed on injured reserve. He made his NFL debut against the San Francisco 49ers on September 5, 2002.
In 2003, Dinkins saw action in seven games after being signed to the Giants active roster from the practice squad in week 10. He finished the season with two receptions for 16 yards and eight special teams tackles.
Dinkins was waived by the Giants at the end of the training camp in 2004 and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens on October 2, 2004 to their practice squad before being elevated to the active roster on October 29, 2004. He played in ten games, starting four (the first starts of his career), in his first year with the Ravens. He was a key contributor for Baltimore as he pulled in nine receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown. He scored his first career touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Kyle Boller versus the Dallas Cowboys on November 21.
In 2005, his second season with the Ravens, Dinkins appeared in all 16 games, including four starts, and totaled 55 yards on six receptions (9.2 avg.).
Dinkins was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an unrestricted free agent on March 19, 2006. He played in 14 games with two starts and averaged seven yards per reception and one touchdown. He is known more for his size and blocking than his receiving ability.
Although not starting a single game in 2007 for the first time in four years, he appeared in a total of 15 games. His offensive totals for the season were one reception for eight yards (8.0 avg., which he recorded in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The only game in which he did not see action was the Week 6 game against the Miami Dolphins.
In 2008, Dinkins caught his second career touchdown, with 2:15 left in the second quarter during the Week 6 game against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. He caught a 22-yard pass from quarterback Derek Anderson while filling in for injured tight end Kellen Winslow. It was his first reception of the 2008 campaign.
New Orleans Saints
Dinkins married his high school sweetheart, Shayla, and has three children, Kayla, Khalil and Kolin
Dinkins acquired a college degree in criminology from the University of Pittsburgh and works to educate local youth in desperate situations. In 2003, he spoke with children from public school MS 45 about gang prevention on behalf of NYPD Youth Services, visited youth incarcerated at the Union County (N.J.) Juvenile Detention Center, and twice visited Giants Academy in Newark to praise the academic effort of the students. In 2004, Dinkins created his own foundation to host the annual Darnell Dinkins Maleness to Manhood football camp, with the goal of involving parents in the teaching of leadership, responsibility, integrity and teamwork to inner-city Pittsburgh youth
Dinkins has served as a professor for both Football 101 and 201 programs, and attended the annual "Meet the Giants" Ronald McDonald House dinner. He also led walkers on behalf of the Autism Directory Service in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Dinkins served as tight ends coach at Rutgers University in 2012, after serving as an assistant tight ends coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010 and 2011. 
- Triplett, Mike (March 18, 2009). "New Orleans Saints agree to deal with free agent tight end Darnell Dinkins". Nola.com. http://blog.nola.com/saintsbeat/2009/03/new_orleans_saints_agree_to_de_1.html. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Vincent, Malik. "Hard Work Pays Off". Interactive One. https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2011/06/15/hard-work-pays-off/. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20120815145334/http://scarletknights.com/football/coaches/dinkins.asp. Retrieved August 28, 2012.