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.
This jersey was most notably worn by three unheralded players who were among the best to play their positions with the team but probably aren’t remembered that way by Dolphin fans. The first was fullback back Andra Franklin (1981-84), who led the Dolphins in rushing twice during his four seasons with the team, including their Super Bowl season of 1982. With 701 yards that strike-shortened year, he finished third in the NFL in rushing, one of only three Dolphins ever (along with Larry Csonka and Ricky Williams) to finish ranked that high by the end of the season. Franklin was named to the Pro Bowl that year and still ranks tenth on the Dolphins’ all-time rushing list despite playing fewer seasons in Miami than all but one other player in front of him on that list. Cornerback J.B. Brown (1989-96) was a steady starter on the playoff-caliber Dolphins teams in the early 1990s, starting 88 regular season games, including all but five games from 1990-94, with the team reaching three divisional playoffs games and the AFC title game during that span. But the colorful Louis Oliver seemed to draw most of the spotlight among the team’s defensive backs those years, relegating J.B. to the shadows. Another defensive back, Yeremiah Bell (2004-11) was one of the better players at that position in Dolphin history but is another individual whose contributions were overlooked. He didn’t break into the starting lineup until 2008 but started all but one game at safety the next four years. While his statistics weren’t gaudy (for example, he never led the Dolphins in interceptions) he was a hard tackler and a steady player who performed well enough to earn Pro Bowl honors in 2009, the only Dolphin player at that position to make the Pro Bowl in the last ten seasons.
The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #37 includes Charley Wade (1973); Franklin (1981-84); Mike Kozlowski (1979-80); Brown (1989-96); Zebbie Lethridge (2001); Bell (2004-11); Kelsie McCray (2013); and D.J. Campbell (2013).
What popular player wearing # 36 took over for Larry Csonka at fullback after Zonk left Miami for the World Football League in 1975 and finished fourth in the league in rushing touchdowns that season?
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