This jersey was worn by only two starters, one of whom is relatively unheralded. But the player who arguably made the biggest contribution didn’t do it as an offensive or defensive starter. The second player to wear the number, cornerback Norris Thomas (1977-79) could be one of the most unknown starters in the Don Shula era. He started all three years he was in Miami, and finished tied for second on the team in interceptions his first season with the Dolphins. But playing with a mix of players from two famous defenses - those left over from the “No Name” group in the early 1970s and those just starting their career as part of the “Killer B’s” defense in the 1980s, he got lost in the shuffle. The next player to wear it was one of the best at his position in Dolphin history but wasn’t a starter -- Fulton Walker (1981-84). Although he saw action as a reserve cornerback, he made his mark as a return specialist. He ranks among the all-time Dolphins leaders in a number of kickoff return categories, but is best known for his performance in the team’s two Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s. In Super Bowl XVII following the 1982 season against the Washington Redskins, he had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first kickoff ever to be returned for a touchdown in a Super Bowl, and it remains the third longest KO return in Super Bowl history. In addition, his 283 combined yards in kickoff returns from Super Bowl XVII and XIX with the Dolphins remains a Super Bowl record for most career kickoff return yards. Probably the biggest name to wear the jersey was fullback Keith Byars (1993-96). A talented runner and receiver, he combined with running back Terry Kirby to give the Dolphins one of the best pass-catching backfield duos in team history. He was named as a Pro Bowler in 1993, the last Dolphins fullback to make that team. He also is the last Dolphin starter to wear number 41.
The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #41 includes Willie Pearson (1969); Jeris White (1974-76); Norris Thomas (1977-79); Fulton Walker (1981-84); *Mark Konecny (1987); African Grant (1990); Keith Byars (1993-96); Scott McGarrahan (2001); Joey Thomas (2008); Evan Oglesby (2009); Javorskie Lane (2012); and Chris Owens (2013).
Tomorrow: What player who wore #40 is one of only two Dolphins (along with Jim Hines) ever to win an Olympic medal
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