Dolphins Announce Team Award Winners

Posted Jan 6, 2017

Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was named winner of two awards given by the team, the Ed Block Courage Award and the Don Shula Leadership Award.

Cameron Wake won two of the Dolphins’ four annual awards, but it was running back Jay Ajayi who earned the most prestigious honor.

Ajayi was announced Friday as the winner of the 2016 Dan Marino Award as the team MVP. He was selected in a vote of South Florida media and the Dolphins organization.

“It’s a great feeling, for sure," Ajayi said. "From where I started the season to now, it feels good being team MVP. It started off rocky, of course, but my whole thing was to just stick with the process. I knew what I wanted to accomplish this year personally. I was determined to do that. I was kind of was waiting on my opportunity and when they came, it was just about going out there and being consistent.”

Wake was named winner of two awards given by the team, the Ed Block Courage Award and the Don Shula Leadership Award.

“When something like that comes from inside, those are the people who really do know,” Wake said of being named winner of the Don Shula Leadership Award. “There’s no BS’ing another player; you can’t snow the snowman; all those phrases. Another player knows when you’re faking it. Another player knows when you’re really giving all you have. Another player knows the real deal. So when those are the people who are making those decisions, voting — whether it be Pro Bowl or leadership awards or any kind of accolade — to me those are the most important. Those are the most honored and the most cherished because of the sincerity, because of the authenticity of it. Popularity votes and people on the outside, that’s one thing. But coming from the guys who are in the huddle with you, who go through all of the trials and tribulations of football with you, it takes that to another level so I really do appreciate that.”

Wide receiver Kenny Stills was honored as the winner of the Nat Moore Community Service Award.

“I think that’s just how I am,” Stills said. “At the community service events, I don’t like to do interviews. I don’t like people to know. It’s not about that. It’s about the kids that are there at the event that we’re doing. I feel like it’s more genuine, it’s more fun that way and the kids don’t feel like I’m doing it for the cameras. So I try to keep it that way and that’s what I like.”

In his second season in the NFL, Ajayi produced the third-best rushing performance in Dolphins history when he finished with 1,282 yards. Ajayi, who became the first NFL player since 2006 with three 200-yard games, was fourth in the league in rushing.

Ajayi becomes the eight different running back to be named Dolphins MVP, following Joe Auer (1966), Larry Csonka (1973, 1979), Delvin Williams (1978), Tony Nathan (1981), Andra Franklin (1982), Keith Byars (1993), and Ricky Williams (2002, split with Jason Taylor, and 2009).

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry and safety Reshad Jones shared the team MVP award last season.

Wake was a clear choice as the Ed Block Courage Award winner after he bounced back from a torn Achilles tendon sustained in October 2015 to earn his fifth Pro Bowl invitation as he led the team with 11.5 sacks.

“From the moment the injury happened, I knew that the opportunity was there to be standing where I am in front of you right now,” Wake said. “Again, that goes kind of back to what you were saying about people: I guarantee you that not only team-wide Dolphins, but Cameron Wake – there are people who wrote me off back then. The same people who don’t know the Dolphins are the same people who don’t know me. And here we are, and here I am.”

Wake becomes the second defensive end to win the award, following David Bowens in 2004. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson won the award last season.

This marked the third time in four years Wake won the Don Shula Leadership Award, as he succeeded 2015 winner Mike Pouncey. Wake joined Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas as the only three-time winners of the award, which first was handed out in 1989.

Wake joins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino (1995) as the only Dolphins player to ever win the Don Shula Leadership Award and Ed Block Courage Award in the same season.

As for Stills, he won the Nat Moore Community Service Award for his civic-minded work, including funding the RISE tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium throughout the season and participating in a ride-along with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to promote better relations between the police and the community.

Safety Michael Thomas won the award last year.

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