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Xavien Howard Named 2021 Pro Bowl Starter

The NFL Pro Bowl teams were announced Monday night with Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard earning a starting spot on the AFC squad.

It's the second Pro Bowl in Howard's career, who leads the NFL with nine interceptions. He played in the game following the 2018 season after a seven interception season that year. To go along his nine interceptions in 2020, Howard forced a fumble in Sunday's win over the Patriots, making it 10 takeaways that he's played a role in. Howard also has 17 passes defensed, which is tied for second in the NFL.

If Howard can pull down one more interception over the final two games of the season, he will tie a franchise record that has stood since 1967 (cornerback Dick Westmoreland).

On the season, Howard is allowing a completion rate of just 50.6 percent and an opposing passer rating of just 51.8, ranking third and second among cornerbacks with at least 50 pass targets, respectively. 

"'X' has had a great year," Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores said. "He's played well week after week after week, but he doesn't do it alone. He's got teammates – he'll be the first person to say that."

Howard's latest interception, a one-handed, Odell Beckham-style snag in front of Kansas City's Tyreek Hill, was perhaps his best. Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid certainly thought so.

"He's playing as well as any corner in the National Football League," Reid said. "That catch he made was phenomenal. If you underthrow it an inch … he can go up and do what he did."

Howard continues to amaze his teammates with his propensity for taking the football away.

"It's funny, you can't see my facial expression in the helmet but I'm like, 'this freaking guy again?'" Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones said with a laugh. "It's really cool to be on the other side … Hopefully we can keep this going and get the wins, but the kid is definitely on a roll."

Howard's career interception total is up to 21 with all of those picks coming between 2017 and present day. The two-time Pro Bowler leads the NFL in interceptions over that span, demonstrating a rare ability to find the football.

"I don't know if there's a special skill to it," Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler said. "I think it's his hustle. He's always hustling to be around the ball and be where he needs to be."

Howard becomes the 43rd player in franchise history with multiple Pro Bowl selections.