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'I am just here so I don't get fined,' Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard says

Pro Bowl player requests trade as Miami opens training camp
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard led NFL in interceptions in 2020
Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 23:42:11-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Xavien Howard is still a member of the Miami Dolphins. But he's not happy about it.

The Pro Bowl cornerback blasted the organization Tuesday in a statement posted on his Instagram account, saying he doesn't believe team management has acted in good faith during his quest for a new contract.

"I don't feel valued or respected by the Dolphins," Howard wrote on the same day the Dolphins opened training camp at their new facility outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. "Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I. That's why I want to make it clear, I'm not happy and have requested a trade. Until that trade happens, I am just here so I don't get fined and will handle myself like professionals do."

A second-round pick out of Baylor in 2016, Howard has hauled in 22 interceptions through his first five seasons in the NFL. His seven interceptions in 2018 and 10 last season led the league.

Howard signed a five-year, $76.5 million contract extension with the Dolphins in 2019, including $46 million in guaranteed money, making him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at the time. However, that deal has since been eclipsed by fellow cornerback Byron Jones, who inked a five-year, $82 million contract with the Dolphins before the start of last season.

Head coach Brian Flores told reporters Tuesday that he welcomes Howard's veteran leadership entering the 2021 season.

"We're excited to work with X and all of the players that are here," Flores said. "Those conversations with X, his representation, (general manager) Chris (Grier), myself, those will, like always, will be internal, confidential, and it will always be that way. We'll keep it that way with all players. But we're excited to have him. I'm excited to work with him. He's a great player and I look forward to building over the course of training camp."

The last disgruntled Miami defensive back to request and receive a trade was 2018 first-round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was dealt to Pittsburgh in September 2019 after expressing his dismay about playing out of position. Fitzpatrick went on to become a Pro Bowl safety for the Steelers.