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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #48

Posted Jul 21, 2014

This is another number still looking for a home.

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 is another number still looking for a home. It was first worn by safety Bob Petrella (1966-71), who was taken in the eighth round by the Dolphins as part of their initial draft class of 1966. He proved to be a valuable reserve for the team and even started 15 games from 1968-69, many alongside Dick Anderson, before Jake Scott took his place at the start of the 1970 campaign. Petrella did make it through the Dolphins first Super Bowl appearance after the 1971 campaign, but alas was cut right before the start of the 1972 Perfect Season. At that point his number was taken over by another reserve defensive back, cornerback Henry Stuckey (1972-74), who didn’t play in a game in 1972 but did see action in the team’s 1973 Super Bowl season. The only true starter who wore the jersey was cornerback Gerald Small (1978-83). A fourth round draft pick by the team in 1978, he broke into the starting lineup with three games remaining in the ’78 season and went on to start in 75 of the next 76 regular season games at cornerback before he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. He was an early member of the “Killer B’s” defense and was part of the Dolphins’ 1982 Super Bowl team. His best season came in 1980 when he led the Dolphins with a career high seven interceptions. At the time of his trade to the Falcons, Small ranked third on the Dolphins’ all-time interceptions list with 23 picks and even now remains in  ninth place on that list. To this date Small remains the last, and only, starter to wear the jersey.

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #48 includes Petrella (1966-71); Stuckey (1972-74); Ken Ellis (1976);  Wade Bosarge (1977); Small (1978-83); Mike Iaquaniello (1991); Jim Kitts (1997-98); Kantroy Barber (1999); and Brody Heffner-Liddiard (2000).

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Tomorrow: Only one player wore # 47 for more than three seasons, but he was a good one. He was one half of a talented brother combination to play for the team. Can you name him along with the nickname the two earned by their physical play?

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