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Camp Dolphins 2021: Training Camp Begins As Unhappy Xavien Howard Requests Trade

MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins will be back on the field on Wednesday for the first day of training camp, but just hours earlier, All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard requested a trade.

Howard reported for the start of training camp on Tuesday to avoid being fined, and then said he doesn't feel valued or respected by the team.

"As a teammate and as a friend, you do wish him the absolute best no matter what happens," said Dolphins tight end Mike Gesiki.

Howard skipped mandatory minicamp in June and is unhappy with the $75 million, five-year extension he signed two years ago. He decided not to sit out training camp, but posted a statement on social media saying he wants to play elsewhere. Last year Howard had 10 interceptions, the most in the NFL since 2007. He also led the league with 20 passes defended.

"For me, I support X with whatever decision he has. You know he's helped our team tremendously throughout the years. I've only been on this team for one year, but I've been able to see what he's been able to do. But that's not in my control but I support him," said Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagoviola.

"You respect that it is a business, and he has to take care of himself, and his family and you just wait for all of those things to be figured out. But I think for me and the rest of the guys you get comfortable, and you get happy about having a really good player next you and having him here in the building and in meetings because when he's out there on the field that's going to make us a better team," said Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourtey.

Head coach Brian Flores was on the Joe Rose radio show on WQAM on Wednesday morning and said conversations between the two sides continue. The bottom line, according to CBS4's Steve Goldstein is the team is either probably going to have to pay him more, trade him, or force him to play even though he's unhappy.

Flores will deal with that as he starts his third season as head coach with a 10-win season last year, but missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Flores said all 90 players on the roster reported for conditioning tests at the Dolphins' new $135 million training camp next to their stadium including Jerome Baker, one of the leaders on defense who has a new contract. Same for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and DT Christian Wilkins on the defensive line who said last year's victories don't mean anything this year.

"Guys have to put the work in. Just because we were a borderline playoff team last year and we got 10 wins, that doesn't mean anything. Last year's touchdowns aren't going to do anything for us. Last year's tackles for loss, sacks, whatever – last year's interceptions. None of that is going to do anything for us this year, so we've got to start over. We'll see how training camp goes and that starts today. We've got to put the work in."

Running back Miles Gaskin is ready to go.

"Yeah, definitely. I'm just excited for football. I'm excited for this camp. Obviously like I've said in the past, those guys are just fun to watch, just to watch them take off. I was a track guy when I was younger and I used to think I was fast but seeing those guys really take off, it's fun to watch. Like I've said in the past, I'm excited for that. Yeah, it definitely could open the box but I'm just excited for football now," said Gaskin.

Jerome Baker at linebacker said he is resetting his expectations and goals this year as well.

"I don't really have anything as far as individual goals, how many sacks or how many tackles. I kind of take it as I just want to get better than I was year. I want to be a better player, a better person, a better everything. That's kind of what I go into every year. I'm definitely excited. This is my fourth year so I'm excited," said Baker.

While the Dolphins had perfect attendance on reporting day, receiver Preston Williams remains slowed by a foot injury that forced him to miss the final eight games of 2020. He'll begin camp on the physically unable to perform list and spend a lot of time in the new state-of-the-art training room.

On a personnel note: three players were added to the physically unable to perform list or the PUP. Wide receiver Devante parker, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, and linebacker Elandon Roberts.

The Miami Dolphins will host 14 training camp practices that are open to the public at their brand new, state-of-the-art training facility.

The first is Saturday, July 31. Attendance is free but you must reserve tickets by clicking here.

CBS4 is the official partner of the Miami Dolphins.

Make sure you join us for Camp Dolphins. Our daily camp reports kick off on Wednesday night following the late news.

It leads up to the first preseason game Saturday, August 14 against the Chicago Bears.

The Dolphins play three preseason games this season and CBS4 is the only place to catch all the action.


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