Cornerback Xavien Howard, the Dolphins’ second-round draft pick, confirmed Thursday that he will play against the New York Jets, ending a string of nine games missed because of a knee injury.
Howard started the first four games this season before undergoing his second knee surgery in six months. As it became clear he was close to returning the past several weeks, Dolphins coaches said they were waiting on Howard to tell them he was good to go.
“I’ll be playing this week,” Howard said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s been nine weeks, so I’ve just been patient, waiting, trusting the process and just ready to get back out there.”
Howard, from Baylor, figures to play a backup role to current starters Byron Maxwell and Tony Lippett.
“I feel really good about him right now,” coach Adam Gase said. “He’s just comfortable.”
Some players may have felt pressure to hear coaches say they’re waiting on him to declare himself healthy rather than the other way around. Howard said he didn’t feel pressure because of the Dolphins’ approach.
“I took it as a positive,” Howard said. “Whenever I’m ready, it’s a good thing they weren’t rushing me or anything like that.”
Howard had 28 total tackles in the first four games this season and forced one fumble.