The Miami Dolphins on Thursday announced their team’s award winners for the 2021 season.
Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was named Dan Marino Most Valuable Player, defensive back Jason McCourty earned the Don Shula Leadership Award, linebacker Ellen Roberts won the team’s Ed Block Courage Award and linebacker Jaylen Phillips earned the Nat Moore Community Service Award Did.
Waddell is the first rookie to win team MVP since linebacker Zach Thomas in 1996. Quarterback Merino (1983), David Woodley (1980) and Bob Griese (1967) are other rookies to win. Waddell is the fifth wide receiver to earn the honor, joining Jarvis Landry (2015 co-winner), Chris Chambers (2005), OJ McDuffie (1997–98) and Paul Warfield (1970 co-winner).
“I appreciate it, of course,” Waddell said Thursday at a Web conference, eager to continue improving. “I think I’ve always found room for growth. I look back on games and watch the movie, and I’ll probably watch a lot of games season after season to see where I can be better.”
Waddell entered the final game of his rookie season with 99 receptions for 988 yards. He may break Anquan Boldin’s NFL rookie reception record with three more against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Roberts won the Courage Award after coming back from a knee injury sustained late in the 2020 season in Las Vegas. He underwent surgery in January 2021 and returned in time to start this season’s opener at the New England Patriots.
This year, he made a career-high with 79 tackles (42 singles) with one game remaining. When he returned to Allegiant Stadium, the ground where he had been ruled out after an injury, he made an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Raiders.
“I want to show my appreciation for the training staff here with the Miami Dolphins,” said Roberts. “He was with me day and night. …they just come here every day and just try to do their job the best they can, and I just appreciate them. To be honest, winning this award is basically a tribute to him.
Phillips is the first rookie to win a Community Service Award since its inception in 1987. Among his charitable works, he has donated to help surfside residents and Haiti relief after the condo collapsed following an earthquake in August 2021. Phillips, who played at the University of Miami, has been actively involved with Lotus House, improving the lives of homeless women and children in Miami. She is part of the Dolphins’ Social Impact Committee, which is working to improve civic engagement, education, and economic empowerment in South Florida. Phillips also helped those in need during the holiday season, participating in several food and gift distributions in November and December.
“When I came to South Florida, the first thing I knew was that I wanted to make an impact in the community,” Phillips said. “I’ve been privileged to be with a team that was very helpful to me.”
McCourty is just the seventh player to win the Leadership Award in his first season with the team, which includes Ryan Fitzpatrick (2019), Frank Gore (2018), Carlos Dansby (2010), Chad Pennington (2008), Junior CU (2003). Fred Barnett (1996). He is also a finalist for this year’s NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The MVP is voted on by the South Florida media that regularly covers the team. The Leadership Award is voted on by the players, and the Courage Award recipient is selected by the Dolphins’ athletic training staff.
All dolphins that were confined in Wednesday’s practice were projected to return to full participation on Thursday, a rehearsal day for Miami. It includes defensive tackle Emmanuel Ogba (quadriceps), defensive tackle John Jenkins (illness), wide receiver Preston Williams (illness) and receiver DeVante Parker (veteran rest).
In addition to the two active-roster players still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, cornerback Noah Igbinogene and safety Sheldrick Redwine, the Dolphins again had the perfect appearance at Thursday’s practice.
For the Patriots, defensive back Kyle Duggar (hand) did not participate for the second day in a row. New England were limited to 10 players for both Wednesday and Thursday practices: wide receiver Nelson Agholor (concussion), center David Andrews (shoulder), defensive lineman Christian Barmore (knee), defensive back Cody Davis (wrist), kicker Nick Folk ( Left knee), running back Damien Harris (hamstring), linebacker Donta Hightower (knee), wide receiver Jacoby Meyers (thigh), safety Adrian Phillips (knee) and tackle Isaiah Wynn (hip).