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.
Only four Dolphins ever wore this number, the fewest of any double-digit non-retired number in team history. And three of them were role players at best. Only one starter ever wore #69, but he was a good one – guard Keith Sims (1990-97). A second-round draft pick in 1990, he teamed with offensive tackle Richmond Webb, who was the club’s first-round selection that year, to anchor the left side of the Dolphin line for the next eight years. For three consecutive years (1993-95) they were both named to the AFC Pro Bowl team, and the Dolphins made five post-season appearances in the eight years they played together in Miami. The Dolphins had success a number of times earlier with their top two draft selections (Larry Csonka and Doug Crusan in 1968, Bill Stanfill and Bob Heinz the following year, A.J. Duhe and Bob Baumhower in 1977, and Roy Foster and Mark Duper in 1982) but the addition of Webb and Sims with the first two draft choices in 1990 ranks up there with any of those selections. A little known fact about that draft – the Dolphins were looking for offensive line help (sound familiar?) and targeted Webb for their first round selection. They weren’t sure he would still be on the board when they picked ninth, and were prepared to grab Sims if Webb were gone. To Coach Shula’s surprise, Webb was still available when it came time for the Dolphins to make their selection, and he didn’t waste any time turning in the card with Webb’s name on it. And what made it even better was that Sims still hadn’t been drafted when the Dolphins were making their second round pick, so Shula jumped at the chance to select him as well. So Shula got both of his desired linemen that draft.
The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #69 includes Mike Lambrecht (1987-89); Sims (1990-97); Taylor Whitley (2003-04) and Ray Feinga (2010-11).
Tomorrow: Eric Laakso, who wore #68 wasn’t able to crack the starting offensive line his first two years with the team because they had four former Pro Bowlers as starters. Can you name those four Pro Bowlers who kept Laakso out of the starting lineup those two seasons?
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