Miami Dolphins stud corner back Xavien Howard has officially been removed from injured reserve, as well as the COVID-19 list, and has been OKed to practice today by head coach Brian Flores.

“He’s got a long way to go from a conditioning standpoint, drill work, communication with his teammates (but) this is the first step,” Flores said.

Knee Injury, Surgery Ended Howard’s 2019

Howard played just five games (all starts) in 2019 before being placed on IR with a knee injury that required surgery. He has since been rehabbing at the team facility since June.

Miami’s Secondary Features Two Highest-Paid CBs in NFL

After joining the team in 2016, Howard has appeared in 40 games for the Dolphins and currently has five years remaining on his $75-million-dollar contract extension. At the time this made him the highest paid CB in the NFL, but that has since been passed by now-teammate Byron Jones.

Miami is hoping Howard can join Jones for the season opener up in New England in just a little over two weeks. Jones was signed in free agency this season after his stint with the Dallas Cowboys to fill the other Dolphins’ CB position that has since been weak for years.

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Howard Wants to Pick Up Where He Left Off in 2018

Howard will likely stay at left CB, making the transition from right to left in 2018, the same year he was named to his first Pro Bowl. The 27-year old had an NFL-leading seven interceptions that season, along with 35 tackles and 12 passes defensed in 12 games.

Miami Has Depth at Position if Howard Isn’t Ready

However, if Howard isn’t up to speed in time for week one, rookie Noah Igbinoghene is the favorite to start. If the versatile Igbinoghene is started elsewhere in the secondary though, CB Nik Needham who had a surprisingly successful 2019 in a banged up secondary should be next in line. Miami also has Jamal Perry and Nate Brooks on the roster for the same role and will look to them if needed.

Editor’s Note: Jamal Perry does not have a player profile on profootballreference.com, the site FPC Dolphins uses to highlight players.

– Kayla Morton is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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