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Dolphins Notebook: Baker is the 'Man,' Roster Moves, Phillips Up for Award, More

Linebacker Jerome Baker was recognized for his off-the-field contributions

The NFL announced each team's nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award on Tuesday, and it was linebacker Jerome Baker who got the nod for the Miami Dolphins.

The fourth-year linebacker has been a constant presence in the community since joining the Dolphins in 2018, and one of the first recurring events he established after he was drafted by the Dolphins was a Christmas event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. Born on Christmas Day himself, Baker hosts the event for children as a birthday gift and even made sure the event could be held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Baker also stepped after the residential building collapse in the beach town of Surfside this year when he partnered with a minority-owned small business food truck to provide meals to first responders aiding in the recovery efforts. After an earthquake hit Haiti in August 2021, Baker partnered with Miami Dolphins Football UNITES community partner City of North Miami to transport donation items to Haiti and supported a call for action for the public to deliver goods needed by the country.

Baker also established after being drafted in 2018 the Expand the Land Foundation to inspire youth and provide mentorship and programming in his hometown of Cleveland, and he's remained active in Miami and Cleveland.

As a nominee, Baker will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season.

For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a prime-time awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI, on ABC.

All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 7th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee’s last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 7 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at

The Dolphins have had three league-wide Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winners: Dwight Stephenson in 1985, Dan Marino in 1998 and Jason Taylor in 2007. Cornerback Byron Jones was the team's nominee in 2020.

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For the second consecutive week, rookie first-round pick Jaelan Phillips is among the nominees for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award.

Phillips, who had two sacks in the 20-9 victory against the New York Giants to set the Dolphins rookie single-season record with 8.5, is joined by Jets QB Zach Wilson, Broncos RB Javonte Williams, Steelers RB Najee Harris, Raiders CB Nate Hobbs and Lions WR Amon St. Brown.

Phillips and teammate Jaylen Waddle both were nominated for their performance in the 33-10 victory against Carolina in Week 12, but the award went to Denver cornerback Patrick Surtain II, the son of former three-time Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain.


The Dolphins had some movement on the practice squad Tuesday, with center Cameron Tom being signed after linebacker Milo Eifler was signed to the Washington Football Team active roster.

Tom was waived by the Dolphins on Saturday when center Michael Deiter and wide receiver DeVante Parker both were activated from injured reserve.


-- Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's first season with the Washington Football Team is over with the news he'd be having arthroscopic hip surgery to address an injury that happened in the season opener.

-- Wide receiver Kenny Stills was waived Tuesday by the New Orleans Saints. He had only five catches in 10 catches (including four starts) in his second stint with New Orleans.

-- Cornerback Cornell Armstrong, a Dolphins 2018 sixth-round draft pick who played 15 games with the team as a rookie, signed with the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.


1987: The Hall of Fame career of center Dwight Stephenson comes to a disappointing end when he sustains a catastrophic knee injury in a 37-28 Monday night victory against the New York Jets.

2008: The Dolphins and Buffalo Bills play the first regular season game in Canada and the Dolphins leave with a 16-3 victory on their way to winning the AFC East title.