The Miami Dolphins have reportedly place star cornerback Xavien Howard on the NFL’s Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues his rehab.
Xavien Howard has been placed on the PUP list by the Miami Dolphins as he continues to make progress in his recovery from a knee injury that limited him to just five regular-season appearances in 2019.
The 27-year-old former second-round pick of the Dolphins is making progress from an injury to his left knee that required surgery, but he is not quite ready to return to practice as the team kicked off training camp this week.
The Dolphins missed having the one-time Pro Bowler in the line-up during the 2019 season, with the former Baylor product registering an interception, four pass defences and a combined 17 tackles in five games.
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Head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier clearly identified the cornerback position as an area that the team could improve on, bringing in free agent Byron Jones – handing him the most expensive contract of any corner in the entire NFL in the process.
Bringing in Jones not only gives Howard a strong partner on the opposite side, but it also guards against any possible future injuries that the fifth-year veteran may endure when play gets underway in 2020.
Per Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel, Howard has been rehabbing at the team’s facility since June and Flores commented to him that the corner is making progress but he will not put a timetable on his return, simply stating that he will be back as soon as he can.
Having a healthy Howard back in the line-up gives the Dolphins a truly threatening secondary, with the addition of Jones, rookie slot corner Noah Igbinoghene and rookie safety Brandon Jones helping to bolster a unit that already included Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe.
Since entering the league in 2016, Howard has combined for 12 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, 35 pass defences, one forced fumble, one sack and 140 combined tackles (108 solo) – earning his solitary pro bowl nod after the 2018 season, a year that also saw him earn his five-year $72.5 million contract.
It is positive to hear the Howard is making progress from the injury, but the fact that he has been placed on the PUP list does suggest that he still has a long way to go before he can even consider training with the rest of the team, especially in contact drills.
The Dolphins will take their time with Howard’s recovery, ensuring that he doesn’t push himself too much too soon – increasing their hopes that he will be back fully and ready to play by the time week one of the regular season gets underway.