Will Xavien Howard be on the team opening day? Flores addresses that, other issues

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In the wake of Xavien Howard asking for a trade, will the Dolphins star cornerback be a member of the team when Miami opens the regular season Sept. 12 at New England?

Brian Flores declined to answer that specific question Thursday.

“I’m focused on today,” Flores said.

Flores was asked a series of questions about Howard. He tap-danced around them, but this much is clear:

Flores never said that he’s determined to fix the situation. He never said Howard will definitely be on the team (nor did he say he won’t be on the team).

That’s in contrast to last October, when the Dolphins — amid a report about Howard being interested in a trade — announced that “We are not exploring any trades regarding Xavien Howard.”

Howard is unhappy about his contract and has asked for a trade. Is it important for Flores’ players to be happy in his opinion?

“It’s important for everybody to be happy for your own well being,” Flores said. “I want them to be happy as well.”

When Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kiko Alonso asked for trades, the Dolphins granted those requests. I asked Flores if he and general manager Chris Grier philosophically believe players who ask for trades should be granted those requests.

“It’s case by case,” Flores said. “Every situation is different. Every year is different. There’s a lot that goes into it. Chris’ opinion, my opinion, salary cap, this is not just one thing [of] it’s got to be this way or it’s got to be that way. Flexibility is a part of that as well.”

Flores also was asked if it’s important to be flexible with top players.

“With any relationship, marriage, coach to player working relationship, flexibility is important,” he said. “There’s contracts, there’s play time, there’s injuries, there are a number of things that come up. I try to be open, honest, transparent.”

Howard missed Wednesday’s practice with a minor injury.

Flores addressed other issues on Thursday morning, before the second day of practice:

On wide receiver DeVante Parker’s injury, which the team isn’t disclosing: “Taking it one day at a time. We’ll see how he progresses. He will be back as soon as he can.”

Parker’s injury is not considered major, unless there’s a setback. He was walking around the field without a limp on Wednesday.

Receiver Will Fuller has an undisclosed injury. “He’s dealing with something,” Flores said, declining to elaborate.

Fuller walked off the field late in Wednesday’s practice. Update: We hear Fuller is dealing with a foot issue.

On linebacker Shaquem Griffin: “You feel energy 30 seconds being around the guy. He’s got speed, toughness, he’s smart. Got position flexibility. Can play on the ball, off the ball, can play in the kicking game. We love his energy. Excited to have him as part of the team. He’s done an exceptional job dealing with adversity and overcoming adversity.”

His left hand was amputated when he was 4 because of amniotic band syndrome, a condition causing his fingers on his left hand not to fully develop.

On backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett: “Very bright. Loves to play, loves to watch film. Team first guy. You see him in there, talking to the offensive line, talking to defensive guys, talking to specialists. Team first. He’s a guy’s guy. Everyone gravitates to him. His ability to fit in quickly benefits him.”

Flores liked first-round receiver Jaylen Waddle’s first practice. “First go round. Does he know his assignment? Does he handle his responsibility? Obviously things he can do better with route releases. But a good start.”

He said Waddle’s role “is up to Jaylen.”

Will Waddle juggle returns with receiving duties?

“The return game is important,” Flores said. “I would like to put our best players out there. If he earns the right to be out there on kickoff and punt return — and he has pretty good guys to beat out, we all know that” — he will be out there. We are going to play our best players.”

Jakeem Grant is the Dolphins’ primary incumbent returner.

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