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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #61

Posted Jul 8, 2014

Two of the players who wore this jersey made the Pro Bowl, making #61 one of the few Dolphins jerseys to be worn by multiple Pro Bowl performers.

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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Two of the players who wore this jersey made the Pro Bowl, making #61 one of the few Dolphins jerseys to be worn by multiple Pro Bowl performers.  The first player to wear it, Ernie Park (1966) was the Dolphins’ starter at left guard for most of the team’s inaugural season, but never made it back the next year, when Fred Woodson (1967-69) took his place. But the ’67 campaign was the only one Woodson was a starter. It was next worn by center Bob DeMarco (1970-71), who started at that position his two years with the team, holding off future Hall of Famer Jim Langer those two season until Langer finally claimed the job for good in ’72. The jersey didn’t crack the starting lineup again until Roy Foster (1982-80) joined the team. Foster spent his first two years playing behind Bob Kuechenberg at left guard, but claimed the starting job in 1984 and (not counting the three strike games in 1987) started every game but one there for the next six seasons while making two Pro Bowl appearances (1985-86). Tim Ruddy (1994-03) also wore the jersey his entire Dolphins career, breaking into the starting lineup at center his second year. He started 140 of 144 games for the next nine years and made the AFC Pro Bowl team in 2000, the only Dolphins offensive player other than Ricky Williams to make the Pro Bowl over an eight year stretch (1997-04). Ironically, after seeing so much action during Ruddy’s career, the jersey hasn’t been worn by a Dolphins player since then.

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #61 includes Park (1966); Woodson (1967-69); DeMarco (1970-71); Cleveland Green (1979); Thom Dornbrook (1980); Foster (1982-87); *Greg Cleveland (1987); Foster (1987-90); Gene Williams (1991-92); and Ruddy (1994-03).

Kuechenberg (1970-84); Chris Ward (1986); Chris Conlin (1987); *Guy Goar (1987); Pat Swoopes (1991); Jeff Novak (1994); Barry Stokes (1998) and Joe Berger (2009-10).
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Tomorrow: What player who wore # 60 joined Dolphins greats such as Joe Robbie, Don Shula, and Dan Marino to be enshrined on bronze statues located outside Pro Player Stadium? Bonus question: What player, the first to wear # 60 in Miami, would eventually go on to become an outstanding offensive line coach in the NFL?

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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

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