Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert active for playoff game vs. Chiefs; Jevon Holland out

KANSAS CITY — The Miami Dolphins had wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert making their return from a two-game absence with ankle injuries for Saturday night’s playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Meanwhile, safety Jevon Holland was out after having his lingering injuries in both knees flare up last Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills, but the Dolphins did have fellow safety DeShon Elliott available to start with his calf injury.

The duo of Mostert and Waddle, which has combined for 2,213 total yards of scrimmage this season, gave the Dolphins nine of their 11 starters from the beginning of the season on offense.

Mostert and Waddle both hurt their ankles in the Dec. 24 win over the Dallas Cowboys. They missed losses to the Baltimore Ravens and the Bills to finish out the regular season.

Coach Mike McDaniel was optimistic when he spoke Thursday about the availability of his running back that broke team franchise records in rushing and total touchdowns and No. 2 wide receiver who notched his third straight 1,000-yard season.

Holland being inactive means Brandon Jones likely starts alongside Elliott, with Elijah Campbell available if he also needs to rotate in at safety. Neither Holland nor Elliott practiced all week.

The Miami secondary also had cornerback Xavien Howard inactive after he was ruled out Thursday.

Healthy inactives were headlined by cornerback Cam Smith, the Dolphins’ second-round draft pick and first selection in the past draft. Miami also has tackle Kion Smith, wide receiver Robbie Chosen, tight end Tyler Kroft and quarterback Skylar Thompson inactive. Thompson’s available as an emergency third quarterback.

Reed, Bonner elevated

The Dolphins elevated outside linebacker Malik Reed and cornerback Ethan Bonner from the practice squad to the game-day roster ahead of the playoff game.

Reed provides an extra edge defender for a group that has been ravaged by season-ending injuries — first to starters Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb and, last Sunday night against the Bills, to Andrew Van Ginkel and Cameron Goode.

Reed, before signing to the team’s practice squad this past week, spent the past offseason and training camp with the Dolphins before he didn’t make the initial 53-man regular-season roster. He also has previous experience under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, when he was head coach of the Denver Broncos.

This past week, Miami also added veterans Justin Houston and Bruce Irvin to bolster a pass rush in need of bodies after the array of injuries. Melvin Ingram, who was with the Dolphins all 2022, also joined the practice squad in December, was elevated three times to finish the regular season and is now on the active roster. Emmanuel Ogbah rounds out the edge group for Saturday’s game in frigid Kansas City.

Bonner helps a special teams unit that could suffer from residuals of Holland (knees) being out. Bonner is also additional depth at cornerback, where Howard is out with a foot injury.

Veteran pass rushers

New Dolphins edge defender Irvin called it a special moment to have him and Houston join the active roster for a playoff game, along with Reed on the practice squad.

Miami outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik wrote the number 243 on the position group’s white board this past week for the total number of sacks added in the past month between the wild-card week’s trio and Melvin Ingram in December. This in response to the Dolphins’ loss of four active-roster players on the edge.

Houston, who has 112 sacks in his career, said the Dolphins were a team he eyeballed upon his release from the Carolina Panthers this season to join a contender down the stretch.

“I think it’s a great situation to be in,” Houston said. “Perfect timing, I guess. You never want to see anybody get hurt but I’m here now and I’m happy to be here.”

Houston played his first eight seasons in Kansas City, earning all four of his Pro Bowls and his All-Pro selection for his 22-sack 2014 campaign, returns to the stadium he called home for so many moments in his career.

“I’m a pass rusher,” he said. “That’s my job is to put pressure on the quarterback. So I came here to put pressure on the quarterback.”

Irvin, after he parted ways with the Detroit Lions the week before joining Miami, said he’s ready to go right away with his new team.

“I’m a dog,” he said. “I’m going to just show you. I feel like I might be 36, but I don’t move like it. So I just can’t wait to show y’all and can’t wait to see how y’all tell me, ‘Dang, he was right.’”


The Dolphins finished the regular season without a touchdown from a tight end.

Blocking at the position is such a key, especially for the outside-zone run, but for a team that struggled to have viable big pass-catching targets in the red zone, the tight end position group — led by Durham Smythe and with undrafted rookie Julian Hill and veteran Tyler Kroft on the roster all season — did not produce a touchdown.

Smythe said early in the past week it doesn’t necessarily eat at him.

“No, it doesn’t,” he said. “We have a pretty selfless tight end room in terms of individual statistics. We kind of understand our role within the offense. We produce when our number is called. We do a lot of other things within the offense.

“But then the red zone is kind of a crapshoot a lot of the time. If you’re running the ball well, the running backs are going to score a lot. If Tyreek (Hill) is being Tyreek, he’s going to score a lot. Things like that. Those are things you can’t really control, and I don’t think it really affects anyone in our room.” …

— Musical superstar Taylor Swift, who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, attended Saturday’s playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.