Top News: Thursday Dolphins Headlines

Howard on the mend

Brian Flores confirmed Thursday that Xavien Howard recently underwent knee surgery.

Howard was placed on injured reserve Oct. 30, two days after the Dolphins faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night game at Heinz Field.

It was during that game that Howard recorded his only interception of the season after he had tied for the NFL lead in 2018 with seven to land his first Pro Bowl invitation.

Howard posted a picture of his left knee in a large brace on Instagram.

Flores said it was too early to say whether Howard would be ready for the start of the offseason program next April.

"It's very early in the process," Flores said. "He just recently had surgery, so he's going through the recovery process. It's way too early. It's a couple of days in. We've got to get him in here and get him rehabbed. We'll see how it goes."

Corner qualities

Head Coach Brian Flores has a list of qualities he'd like to have in his cornerbacks, but size does not happen to be one of them.

"My favorite DB is Antoine Winfield," Flores said. "He wasn't all that tall but he was a great player. No. I would say no. If you're a good player, you're a good player. 

"(Winfield) tackled, he blitzed. I just thought he was a really solid, tough, physical (corner). (He) could cover. He could cover kicks. He was a really good player."

Winfield, who was listed at 5-9, 180, earned three Pro Bowl invitations during a 14-year NFL career (1999-2012) with the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings.

While size isn't a prerequisite, these were the qualities Flores seeks in a cornerback: "Communication, tackling, ball skills, the ability to play multiple positions potentially inside (and) outside. It's a hard position to play in this league. … But yeah, ball skills, tackling, man-to-man coverage, off-coverage, press, all of those things."

Call for the hall

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday afternoon the finalists for the special Centennial Class of 2020, and the list includes two former non-players with Dolphins ties.

The Centennial Class will features 15 new Hall of Famers comprised of 10 players, three contributors and two coaches. 

Among the coach finalists is Jimmy Johnson, who was Dolphins head coach from 1996-99 after winning two Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys. Among the finalists in the contributor category is George Young, who spent four seasons (1975-78) as director of player personnel for the Dolphins before helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowl titles.

The finalists for the Centennial Class were selected by a special blue-ribbon panel among nearly 300 candidates nominated for consideration.

The finalists will be debated in a meeting in early January and voted on by the Blue-Ribbon Panel to elect the 15-member "Centennial Slate" to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those new enshrinees will be revealed in the days following the vote.

The Centennial selections will join the five modern-era inductees to form the Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas is among the modern-era semifinalists.

Along with Johnson, the coach finalists are Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves and Dick Vermeil.

The finalists among contributors, along with Young, are Bud Adams, Ralph Hay, Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, Art McNally, Art Modell, Clint Murchison, Steve Sabol, Seymour Siwoff and Paul Taligabue.

Among the greatest

The unveiling of the NFL 100 All-Time Team will continue Friday with the wide receivers, and the list of finalists includes Dolphins Hall of Famer Paul Warfield.

A total of 10 wide receivers will be selected among the 24 finalists: Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Fred Biletnikoff, Cris Carter, Tom Fears, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Bob Hayes, Elroy Hirsch, Don Hutson, Michael Irvin, Calvin Johnson, Charlie Joiner, Steve Largent, Dante Lavelli, James Lofton, Don Maynard, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Pete Pihos, Jerry Rice, John Stallworth, Charley Taylor and Warfield.

The 10 wide receives will be revealed Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network.

Warfield, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, made the Pro Bowl in each of his five seasons with the Dolphins (1970-74).

In those five seasons, Warfield caught 156 passes for 3,355 yards (21.5 average) and 33 touchdowns. He led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 1971 with 11. He also spent eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns (1964-69, 1976-77).

Each player will be recognized at halftime Sunday and will be presented with a personalized golden football commemorating the 1972 Dolphins being selected as the greatest team in NFL history.

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