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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #35

Posted Aug 3, 2014

This jersey probably had its most famous moment in the very first game in Dolphins history, but may still be looking for its next one.

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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This jersey probably had its most famous moment in the very first game in Dolphins history, but may still be looking for its next one. It was worn by running back Rick Casares (1966) in the team’s initial season. Many Dolphin fans will remember that the team’s first-ever touchdown was scored on the franchise’s first play, when Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in Miami’s inaugural game, on Sept. 2, 1966 vs. Oakland. What most Dolphin fans don’t remember is who scored the team’s first-ever offensive touchdown  --  it was Casares in that same game, on a three-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Rick Norton. Unfortunately for Casares, a backup running back who had been an outstanding runner a decade earlier with the Chicago Bears, it was his only TD all year and he never made it to the team’s second season, playing in only six games for the Dolphins in ‘66. It was next worn by running back Stan Mitchell (1966-70) who picked up the number after the departure of Casares.  He started six games at fullback in ’67, and finished second on the team in rushing that season. When Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick joined the team in 1968, Mitchell’s playing time understandably was reduced, starting only six games the rest of his time in Miami. Still, starting with that season he was the only running back to start a game for the Dolphins besides Csonka and Kiick until Mercury Morris started three games in 1971. The only true regular to ever wear the number was Michael Stewart (1994-96), who started every game at strong safety in ’94 and ’95.   

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #35 includes Casares (1966); Mitchell (1966-70); Clayton Heath (1976); Nick Giaquinto (1980-81); *John Tagliaferri (1987); Kerry Glenn (1990-92); Stewart (1994-96); Irving Spikes (1997); Ben Kelly (2000); Shawn Wooden (2001); Jimmy Wyrick (2004); Eddie Jackson (2005); Tuff Harris (2007); and Justin Rogers (2013).

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Tomorrow: Jersey #34, certainly had an interesting history, having been worn by talented running backs with interesting backstories. One player who wore it led the team in rushing in 1984 but got very little notice for doing so because it also was the same season Dan Marino rewrote the NFL passing records. Who was it? Bonus question: Another running back who wore it eventually was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Can you name him? (And no, it wasn’t Ricky Williams, who had his own unique journey wearing that jersey that might have also led him to Canton if he weren’t distracted by outside interests.)

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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

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