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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #39

Posted Jul 30, 2014

This number, like only one other in team history, was worn by just one individual.

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 number, like only one other in team history, was worn by just one individual, and Dolphin fans will have no problem identifying that person  –  Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka. He is the team’s all-time leading rusher with 6,737 yards and put together three 1,000 yard seasons (back in the days of a 14-game regular season) from 1971-73 as Miami advanced to the Super Bowl each year, including wins in Super Bowls VII (to culminate the Perfect Season) and VIII. In fact, he was the MVP of Super Bowl VIII against the Minnesota Vikings, carrying 33 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He was no slouch in Super Bowl VII, either, rushing for 112 yards in that game as well and to this day Csonka still ranks second in total yards rushing in Super Bowl history. Csonka rushed for 1,117 yards in 1972, and combined with Mercury Morris’ 1,000 rushing yards that season, they became the first set of teammates  in NFL history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in the same year. After the 1974 season  Csonka (along with Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield) left the Dolphins for the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League and then he joined the New York Giants after that. He returned to the Dolphins in 1979, rushed for 837 yards, and retired after the season. Csonka was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and was enshrined on the Dolphin Honor Roll in 1990. He was further honored when # 39 was retired by the team during halftime ceremonies on Dec. 9, 2002, becoming the third (and to date the last) jersey number retired by the team.

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Tomorrow: What Dolphin player who wore # 38 later returned to the team as wide receivers coach in 2007?

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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
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