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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #56

Posted Jul 13, 2014

For the most part, this number was dominated by two players.

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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For the most part, this number was dominated by two players. The first was Steve Towle (1975-80), whose timing could have been better. The linebacker bridged the gap between the Dolphins’ two Super Bowl eras, but never played in the game himself.  However, he did play well during his career, including the 1976 season when he led the Dolphins with 217 tackles (a single season team record that still stands) and was voted as the team’s Most Valuable Player, one of only four linebackers (along with Nick Buoniconti, Zach Thomas, and Joey Porter) to earn that honor. Surprisingly, another outstanding linebacker who wore the number, John Offerdahl (1986-93) never won that award, even though he was elected to the Dolphins’ Honor Roll.  Offerdahl was named to the Pro Bowl his first five years in the league, but he played so hard and was so relentless that his body eventually betrayed him, playing no more than nine games in any season the next three years before retiring. The Dolphin linebacker who wore the jersey between Towle and Offerdahl was Charles Bowser (1982-85), whose career in Miami resembled a shooting star. He became a starter in the “Killer B’s” defense his second year in the league in 1983 and recorded 6.5 sacks. The following season, in 1984, when the Dolphins made it all the way to the Super Bowl, Bowser finished second on the team with 9.0 sacks. But he suffered an ankle injury in the second game of the 1985 campaign and never played again. The only other starter who wore #56 was linebacker Kevin Burnett (2011-12), who started all 32 games he played for the Dolphins.

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #56 includes Bob Bruggers (1966-67); Jesse Powell (1969-73); Towle (1975-80); Bowser (1982-85); Offerdahl (1986-93); Mike Crawford (1997-98); Twan Russell (2000-02); Derrick Pope (2004-07); Charlie Anderson (2008-09); Burnett (2011-12); and Jonathan Freeny (2013).

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Tomorrow: Three linebackers who wore #55 gained Pro Bowl recognition before they joined the Dolphins. Can you name them?

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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

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