In light of the protests against police brutality and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami Dolphins as an organization have stepped up to the plate to help those in need in Miami Gardens. But multiple players have gone off on their own to commit good deeds in the community as well.
Xavien Howard spent his weekend signing autographs and handing out free meals and masks in South Florida to fans and people in need at Sunday’s Eatery, a local black-owned soul food spot.
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Xavien Howard’s Rough Year
Immediately on entry into the NFL, Howard struggled with an injury to his knee, which has remained present in the four years since. But 2019’s trajectory posed significantly larger issues. While the injury did heavily impact his season, so did his behavior. In Week 3, Howard was ejected from a game against the Dallas Cowboys after a mean smack on Cedrick Wilson Jr.’s facemask. But that was just the beginning.
After being place on IR once again, in December, Howard was arrested on charges of domestic battery, brought on by his fiancée, whom he had pushed into a mirror. While the charges were eventually dropped, the consequences contributed to the conversation of Howard’s worth as a player.
In May of 2019, the Dolphins had re-signed Howard to what was at the time the highest-paying deal for a cornerback league-wide: $76.5 million over five years with $46 million guaranteed. It was sensible at the time, Howard having earned his first Pro Bowl selection and leading the league in interceptions. But between the repeated injury and the violence charges on and off the field, year four undoubtedly did a number on the cornerback’s reputation.
Giving Back in Tough Times
Still, Howard’s charitable work speaks for itself, as does the work of his fellow Dolphins, both in the community and on social media platforms. Linebacker James Crawford shared personal video footage on Twitter of participation in protests, and multiple other players joined the franchise in participating in Blackout Tuesday on June 2.
The Miami Dolphins Foundation has also recently partnered with local area schools as a part of their new meal distribution initiative, which is set to fund 1,000 meals a day every day for a year for residents in need across Miami-Dade County.
Howard’s Year Ahead
The Dolphins secondary as a whole is far better off than they were last year. With Howard and Bobby McCain’s returns after their injuries, and the acquisitions of Noah Igbinoghene and Bryon Jones in the draft and free agency, respectively, the pieces are all there for a solid group of interceptors—likely the best secondary in the AFC East, and certainly the best the Dolphins have seen in a good while.
And for Howard, one of the group’s veterans, this year could be considered a comeback if he stays healthy. He’ll have another excellent corner as his opposite in Jones, and for all intents and purposes, the division this year doesn’t seem that difficult to combat on the offensive side of the ball. If his offseason actions pose any bearing on the future, Howard will re-join his Dolphins squad motivated for battle.
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