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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #46

Posted Jul 23, 2014

It won’t take long to go over the history of this jersey, because there basically isn’t very much.

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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It won’t take long to go over the history of this jersey, because there basically isn’t very much. It was worn by only six players, and only one of them for more than a year  -  safety Don Bessilleu (1979-81). Bessilleu had one year as a starter  -  1980  - in the formative years of the team’s “Killer B’s” defense and finished third on the team with four interceptions while also being their main kickoff return specialist. The arrival of Lyle Blackwood the following season returned Bessilleu to a backup role. The number was also worn by an intriguing player who spent only one season (1984) in Miami, Pete Johnson. A former All-Pro who carved out an outstanding career as a bruising fullback with the Cincinnati Bengals, Johnson was acquired in a trade early that season from the San Diego Chargers by Head Coach Don Shula to fill one specific role  -  that of a designated goal line and short yardage runner. And he performed it well  -  as part of Miami’s Super Bowl team that year he played in 13 games and rushed for nine touchdowns despite only carrying the ball 68 times. He retired at the end of that season.

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #46 includes Hal Wantland (1966); Bessilleu (1979-81); Johnson (1984); *Mark Irvin (1987); Dave Moore (1992); and Boomer Grigsby (2008).

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Tomorrow: Dolphins fans know that Dick Anderson and Jake Scott were part of the defensive backfield during the team’s two Super Bowl championships in 1972-73. One of the other two starters in that backfield wore #45  -  can you name him?

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