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.
Unlike the previous two jerseys, this number wasn’t worn by any members of the Dolphins Honor Roll; in fact, it only features a few starters in Dolphin history, mainly offensive linemen. One exception was defensive tackle Maulty Moore (1972-74), who played well backing up Manny Fernandez. His biggest play as a Dolphin came in the 1972 AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, when he blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt by Ray Gerela in the fourth quarter with the Dolphins clinging to a 14-10 lead. Following the block, Bob Griese led Miami on a 49-yard touchdown drive to give the Dolphins their final points in their eventual 21-17 win. The best player to wear #65 was versatile offensive lineman Jeff Dellenbach (1985-94). Ironically, he was probably underrated because of his versatility. During his ten seasons with the Dolphins, Dellenbach started a significant number of games at every O-line position except left guard, and because he played well wherever he was plugged in, he really never settled into one permanent spot on the line. He headed into each training camp not sure where he would be playing, but knowing he would start where he was needed the most. So Dellenbach never got the recognition he deserved for his ability, but he did carve out a niche as one of the best all-around offensive linemen to play for the team. The other starters who wore the jersey after Dellenbach were Kevin Donnalley (1998-00), a productive starter at right guard during his tenure with the team, and Justin Smiley (2008-09), who started two years at left guard.
The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #65 includes Jim Higgins (1966); Jack Pyburn (1967-68); Moore (1972-74); Wally Pesuit (1977-78); Dellenbach (1985-87); *Bill Bealles (1987); Dellenbach (1987-94); Donnalley (1998-00); Troy Andrew (2001-02); Joe Berger (2005-06); Smiley (2008-09) and Sam Brenner
Tomorrow: What player who wore #64 is one of only three Dolphins (along with Don Shula and Dan Marino) to have a street in Miami named in his honor? Bonus question
: What player who also wore that jersey number was picked by the Dolphins with the second-round draft choice they got from the New England Patriots in exchange for Wes Welker?
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