Top News: Xavien Howard's First Pro Bowl Experience

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Cornerback Xavien Howard joined his AFC teammates Wednesday for the first practice in preparation for the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Howard, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time, missed the final four games of the 2018 regular season because of a knee injury but still finished tied for first in the NFL with seven interceptions.

After the season, Howard was named a second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press as well as All-AFC by the Pro Football Writers Association.

The 2019 Pro Bowl will be played Sunday at 3 p.m.

Looking ahead: Because the Dolphins will have a new coach, they will be allowed to start their 2019 offseason program April 1 instead of April 15. Of course, there’s plenty of the NFL calendar before then, including the NFL scouting combine from Feb. 26-March 4, the deadline for teams to apply or franchise tag March 5, and the start of the 2019 “league year” March 13.

RISE Town Hall: As usual, there will be plenty of events during Super Bowl week, one of which will feature RISE, the Ross Initiative for Equality in Sports. It will be the fourth annual Super Bowl Town Hall, “Champions of Change: Tackling Social Justice Together,” and it will take place Thursday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. in Atlanta, site of Super Bowl LIII. The event will take place at The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center). NFL players and executives, community leaders and members of the King family will participate in the solution-based conversation focused on criminal justice reform geared toward adults and the next generation of leaders. The panels will identify tangible next steps that the audience can take back to elevate social justice in their communities. The town hall is open to media and will be live streamed by The Undefeated – ESPN’s content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. Jason Reid, Senior NFL Writer at The Undefeated, will serve as the moderator.

Taking the reins: One of the final events at the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl Host Committee Handoff Ceremony, and this year’s ceremony will officially kick things off for the Miami Host Committee for Super Bowl LIV. The ceremony takes place the morning after Super Bowl LIII, and will feature that Host Committee providing a wrap-up from the week’s activities, to be followed by the handoff to the Miami Host Committee for Super Bowl LIV. That game is scheduled to be played Feb. 2, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Staying in the States: The NFL announced this week the five international regular season games for 2019 and they not include the Dolphins. Miami has played four times in London in the regular season, against the New York Giants in 2007, the Oakland Raiders in 2014, the New York Jets in 2015 and the New Orleans Saints in 2017. The Chiefs and Chargers will play in Mexico City next season, along with four games in England: Panthers-Bucs, Bears-Raiders, Bengals-Rams and Texans-Jaguars.

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