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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #28

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Like a lot of other jerseys, this one was worn by some pretty good players, but only a few starters.

As we tick the days off to the season opener against the Patriots on Sept. 7, each day we highlight the players who wore that particular jersey number during their tenure in Miami. In some cases, the player and jersey number are synonymous. In other cases, the jersey number represents sustained greatness at a particular position. Whatever the case may be, jersey numbers are an important part of the fabric of professional football.

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Like a lot of other jerseys, this one was worn by some pretty good players, but only a few starters.  One of the first players to wear the jersey was running back Abner Haynes (1967). Before coming to Miami, he was one of the best runners in the formative years of the AFL with the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs,  and Denver Broncos. The Dolphins gave up a lot to get him, giving up four players (including their starting quarterback from the previous season, George Wilson, Jr.) in a seven-player exchange before the start of the 1967 season, the largest trade in Dolphin history. But by the time Haynes got to Miami in 1967 he didn’t have much left in the tank. He did lead the Dolphins in rushing that season, but didn’t even finish the season with the team, ending the year (and his career) with the New York Jets. The best player to wear the jersey was cornerback Don McNeal (1980-89), who started at corner as a rookie in 1980 and basically stayed there the next four years before becoming a valuable reserve the rest of his tenure in Miami. Although he wasn’t flashy, he was a consistent performer who still ranks 13th among the Dolphins’ all-time interception leaders. Gene Atkins (1994-96) was a starter at strong safety during much of his three seasons with the Dolphins, giving the team a physical presence in the defensive backfield. The jersey then returned to the offensive side of the ball, in the person of running back Travis Minor (2002-06), who wore #34 his first year with the Dolphins before switching to # 28 in 2002. An underrated runner, Minor finished second on the Dolphins in rushing for three straight years, including both of Ricky Williams’ 1,000 yard seasons. The jersey was last worn by cornerback Nolan Carroll (2010-13), who broke into the league with the Dolphins as a reserve defensive back but wound up starting 22 games his last two years in Miami.

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #28 includes George Chesser (1966); Abner Haynes (1967); Gene Milton (1968-69); Ed Jenkins (1972); Hubert Ginn (1975); Don McNeal (1980-89); Michael McGruder (1990-91); Frankie Smith (1993); Gene Atkins (1994-96); Ray Hill (1998-00); Travis Minor (2002-06); Jesse Chatman (2007); Brannon Condren (2008); Gibril Wilson (2009); and Nolan Carroll (2010-13).

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Tomorrow:  What player who wore #27 for Miami is the only player in NFL history to record 50 or more interceptions (not all as a Dolphin) and never make a Pro Bowl?

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PREVIOUS JERSEY NUMBERS: 99 | 98 | 97 | 96 | 95 | 94 | 93 | 92 | 91 | 92 | 90 | 89 | 88 | 87 | 86 | 85 | 84 | 83 | 82 | 81 | 80 | 79 | 78 | 77 | 76 | 75 | 74 | 73 | 72 | 71 | 70 | 69 | 68 | 67 | 66 | 65 | 64 | 63 | 62 | 61 | 60 | 59 | 58 | 57 | 56 | 55 | 54 | 53 | 52 | 51 | 50 | 49 | 48 | 47 | 46 | 45 | 44 | 43 | 42 | 41 | 40 | 39 | 38 | 37 | 36 | 35 | 34 | 33 | 32 | 31 | 30 | 29
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