DAVIE – Michael Jordan famously dropped 38 points in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz whilst enduring the flu. Jordan’s gutsy effort 20 years ago became known as the “Flu Game.”
Unlike Jordan, second-year cornerback Xavien Howard didn’t wait until his 13th season as a pro to have his Flu Game. After picking off two passes the pervious week against the Denver Broncos, Howard picked off two-time, All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady twice on Monday night while battling the flu.
The cornerback started feeling symptoms of the flu on Monday night and began doing all he could to ensure he was available to play against the AFC East division leading New England Patriots.
“I was throwing up and mostly [drank] like water and took some Pedialyte and I was just throwing that up,” Howard said. “I got some IV, but I was still throwing up a little bit on the sideline.”
Despite dealing with the flu, Howard still managed to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, as he limited Patriots speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks to 1 reception for 38 yards.
Remnants of the flu were still prevalent on Friday as Howard perspired profusely while speaking to members of the media, but he says he feels better and is expected to play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
Howard is the first player in Dolphins’ history to pick off two passes in two consecutive games, and he credits the veteran players in the secondary for helping him grow as a cornerback.
“We got a couple of vets in the secondary. … Me and Tank [Cordrea Tankersley] as the young corners – we just try to talk to the older guys and get knowledge in the secondary and just help us out.”
One of the veteran players Howard is referring to is safety Reshad Jones who is excited that Howard is now feeling better than he did prior to last week’s game.
“He [Xavien Howard] was a little sick on the sideline,” Jones said. “He had been sick all week but … he got meds in him and I think he’s feeling better right now.”
Jones recognized Howard was ill, but he was not surprised that he played well while feeling less than 100 percent. “He’s a baller,” Jones said. “That’s what he does man – I wasn’t shocked at all.”