MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins today announced their team award winners for the 2021 season. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was named the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player, defensive back Jason McCourty earned the Don Shula Leadership Award, linebacker Elandon Roberts was named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner and linebacker Jaelan Phillips earned the Nat Moore Community Service Award.
Waddle is the first rookie to be named Dan Marino Team MVP since Zach Thomas in 1996. He's only the fifth rookie to win the award, joining Thomas (1996), Marino (1983), David Woodley (1980) and Bob Griese (1967). Waddle is the fifth wide receiver to earn the honor, and just the third to win it outright, joining Jarvis Landry (2015 co-winner), Chris Chambers (2005), O.J. McDuffie (1997-98) and Paul Warfield (1970 co-winner). Waddle set franchise rookie records with 99 receptions and 988 receiving yards with one game still to play. His 99 receptions are second-most by a rookie in NFL history and if he has three receptions in the season finale, he will break the NFL's rookie receptions record of 101, set by Anquan Boldin in 2003. This award is voted on by South Florida media who regularly cover the team 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.
McCourty is the winner of the Don Shula Leadership Award, as voted on by his teammates. He's just the seventh player to win the award in his first season with the team, joining Ryan Fitzpatrick (2019), Frank Gore (2018), Karlos Dansby (2010), Chad Pennington (2008), Junior Seau (2003) and Fred Barnett (1996). McCourty is just the second defensive back to earn the honor, joining safety Yeremiah Bell who was a co-recipient in 2009. McCourty served as a team captain this season and is also a finalist for the NFL's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award this year. 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 the Hall of Fame coach Shula.
Roberts is a first-time recipient of the team's Ed Block Courage Award. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 16 of the 2020 season at Las Vegas and underwent surgery in January 2021. His relentless attitude and perseverance allowed him to return to the starting lineup in time for the season-opener at New England in Week 1. Roberts has been selected as a team captain in each of the past two seasons. This year, he set a career high with 79 tackles (42 solo) with one game remaining. In Week 3, he returned to the same Allegiant Stadium field that he was carted off last season and recorded his first career interception, one he returned 85 yards for a touchdown. Each year, all 32 teams select a player to receive the Ed Block Courage Award. The recipient is selected by the Dolphins' athletic training staff and symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. The honoree also is a community role model.
Phillips is this year's winner of the Nat Moore Community Service Award and is the first rookie to win the award dating back to its inception in 1987. Phillips has participated in numerous charitable activities in the South Florida community this year and volunteered his time on a near-weekly basis on his off days during the season. He has been available in times of need, donating his time and resources to help Surfside residents following the condo collapse and for Haiti Relief following the earthquakes in August 2021. Phillips, who played at the University of Miami, has been actively involved with the Lotus House, improving the lives of homeless women and children in Miami. He is part of the Dolphins' Social Impact Committee, working to positively impact civic engagement, education and economic empowerment in South Florida. Phillips also helped those in need during the holiday season, participating in several meal and gift distributions in November and December. 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.