Jaylen Waddle wins the Dolphins MVP Award as a rookie

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Winning the Miami Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player Award wasn’t one of Jaylen Waddle’s goals in his first NFL season. For a reason, the former Alabama wide receiver didn’t know such a thing existed.

But there is – the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player Award – and Waddle won it for the Dolphins’ 2021 season.

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“I really had no expectations for the season,” said Waddle. “I was just trying to make a name for myself, do what I was told, not screw up, and just try to help the team in whatever position they put me in.

“To be honest, I didn’t know they give awards to teams. This is the first time I’ve heard of this, really. I didn’t know they were doing that. “

Marino, whose 17 seasons as Miami’s quarterback got him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, brought the news to Waddle in person. Media representatives reporting on the dolphins voted on the award.

“I heard about it probably 20 minutes ago,” said Waddle on Thursday. “Dan Marino actually told me, that was pretty cool. My mother was a big Dan Marino fan, so I’ll tell her about it. “

Waddle became the first rookie since linebacker Zach Thomas in 1996 to win the Most Valuable Player Award for the Dolphins and fifth overall, after Bob Griese in 1967, David Woodley in 1980, and Marino in 1983.

This season, Waddle has 99 receptions for 988 yards and five touchdowns, two rushing attempts for 3 yards and one touchdown, nine kickoff returns for a 17.6 yard average, and five punt returns for a 7.0 yard -Average.

Waddle needs three receptions in the Miami season finale against the New England Patriots on Sunday to become the NFL rookie leader. Anquan Boldin caught 101 passes for the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, setting the league’s rookie record.

If Waddle sets the record, it’s not because he played 17 more games than Boldin in the NFL’s first regular season. Waddle missed Miami’s 14th game on Dec. 19 on Reserve / COVID-19, so he’ll be playing his 16th game on Sunday, the same number Boldin played when he set the record.

“I’m not really focusing on the record or anything,” said Waddle. “I just focus on doing my job and trying to win.”

The Dolphins end their season against the Patriots on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. CST at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Waddle began his NFL career with four receptions for 61 yards and one touchdown in Miami’s 17-16 win over New England on September 12. But 17 weeks later, when the 2021 regular season ends, the Patriots go into the playoffs and the Dolphins are ‘T.

“It’s disappointing, I would say,” said Waddle of the failure to qualify for the postseason. “Of course we wanted to go far and try to run a run. But the season isn’t over yet, so we have another game ahead of us and we are building on next year. “

While Waddle won the Miami MVP Award and could be an NFL record holder by the end of the season, he has identified many things that he would like to work on during the off-season.

“I think there are a lot of areas to be honest,” said Waddle. “I think I can get better and better just knowing the game and really just studying my opponents more closely, being one step ahead and knowing what I’m going to see out there, that’s great. Of course, you always want to work on catching the ball. This is always number 1 for a receiver to work on. Details on routes, top routes and the attempt to create more separation, which I still have to work on a lot. “

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @ AMarkG1.



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