MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who requested a trade via Instagram, did not practice Friday because of an ankle injury.
Howard, an All-Pro selection in 2020 after leading the NFL in interceptions with 10, jogged off the field after the team’s warmup Thursday before resurfacing some 40 minutes later and watching the end of practice from the sideline. He watched part of practice again Friday.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores did not speak to the South Florida media Friday, but appeared on NFL Network before practice.
“We love coaching him,” Flores said. “Obviously he’s a very talented player, makes our team better.
"In any relationship there’s issues at times, but we’re working through them and we’ll continue to have dialogue and communication. Hopefully we can work through this.
“But we love X. We think he’s a great player. We’ll just continue the dialogue and communication. That’s just part of this right now. Lot of respect for him, the way he plays, the way he conducts himself. He’s a true professional. He’s definitely been that. There’s no issues from that standpoint.”
Howard took to Instagram on Tuesday night to request a trade over his displeasure about his contract. A second-round pick in 2016, Howard signed a five-year, $75 million contract extension in May 2019 that has four years remaining. The deal made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at the time, but he has since fallen to sixth.
One of the players who passed him: teammate Byron Jones, who the Dolphins signed to a five-year, $82.1 million contract during the 2020 offseason.
“I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim,” Howard wrote in his Instagram post. “The assignments I’m givn, shadowing the opposition’s best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I’m the second-highest paid cornerback on my own team, and its’ not even close.”
Jones said Friday he had no issue with Howard’s comments.
“I didn’t mind because truthfully the guy is one of the best,” Jones said. “I mean, the guy had 10 interceptions last year. There’s no secret to his impact on the defense and his impact on the team. When a guy has a season like that, he’s the freaking best. So I understand what he’s trying to do. That’s my boy. We played a lot of hard snaps last year together. We bonded close together, so I understand the business.
“We’d love to keep X. Everybody knows that. It’s really that simple.”
Howard skipped the entire offseason program, including the Dolphins’ mandatory June minicamp, subjecting himself to fines in excess of $90,000.
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