MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins today announced their team award winners for the 2018 season. Cornerback Xavien Howard was named the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player, running back Frank Gore earned the Don Shula Leadership Award, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner and wide receiver Kenny Stills earned the Nat Moore Community Service Award. It marks the third consecutive season that Stills has won the Nat Moore Community Service Award.
Howard is a first-time winner of the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player award and the third cornerback to earn the honor, joining Sam Madison (1999) and Brent Grimes (2013). Entering Week 17, Howard is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions despite missing the past three games due to injury. He has helped the Dolphins rank second in the NFL with 20 interceptions and third with 27 turnovers forced. His eight turnovers (seven interceptions and one fumble recovery) are most in the NFL this season. Several of Howard's interceptions this season have been notable, such as flipping momentum with an end zone pick in the second half at the N.Y. Jets in Week 2. He intercepted a pass in the end zone with less than 3 minutes remaining to preserve a win vs. Oakland in Week 3. Then, at Indianapolis in Week 12, he picked off Andrew Luck on back-to-back offensive snaps in the second quarter. Howard is the 16th defensive player to win the team's MVP award and just the fourth defensive back, joining Madison, Grimes and safety Reshad Jones (2015). This award is voted on by South Florida media and the organization and was re-named the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 to reflect the achievements of Hall of Fame quarterback and 12-time team MVP Dan Marino.
Gore earned the Don Shula Leadership Award in his first season with the Dolphins. He's the fifth player to win the award in his first season with the Dolphins, joining Fred Barnett (1996), Junior Seau (2003), Chad Pennington (2008) and Karlos Dansby (2010). Gore is just the second running back to win the award after Jim Jensen won the inaugural Don Shula Leadership Award in 1989. The Don Shula Leadership Award is voted on by the players and is given to the teammate who exhibits leadership on and off the field. It was re-named the Don Shula Leadership Award in 2005 to reflect the accomplishments of Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula.
Tannehill is a first-time recipient of the team's Ed Block Courage Award and only the second quarterback to earn the honor in team history after Dan Marino (1995). He bounced back from knee injuries that cost him the final three regular-season games of the 2016 season and all of the 2017 season for a total of 19 missed games. He faced adversity again by missing another five games this season with a shoulder injury. Tannehill has started 10 games in 2018, passing for 1,831 yards, 17 touchdowns and posting a 99.0 quarterback rating. His rating is 11th in the NFL this season and he's posted a rating of 115-plus in four of his 10 starts. Each year, players from all 32 teams select a teammate to receive the Ed Block Courage Award. The recipient symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. The honoree also is a community role model.
Stills is the second player in team history to win the Nat Moore Community Service Award in three consecutive seasons, joining Brandon Fields (2011-13). He also joins Fields and John Offerdahl (1989-90, 1993) as the only three-time recipients of the award.. The team's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Stills has become a pioneer among NFL players in addressing societal issues. He has done this by helping move the social justice discussion to unity and humanity through the Dolphins' FOOTBALL UNITES™ program and by continuing to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Stills also traveled throughout the country on a social justice tour that he organized himself in an effort to see first-hand and participate in work to fight for equality and social justice. He has been recognized throughout the South Florida community and was named a "Luminary Icon" by the LGBTQ-rights group SAVE for his social justice work in the community. The Nat Moore Community Service Award is given each year to a Miami Dolphins player recognized for his involvement in the South Florida community. Moore spent 13 seasons in a Dolphins uniform, culminating by his placement on the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1999.