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.
The most circulated Dolphin jersey, #82 was worn by 22 different Miami players, more than any other number in team history. Among the first 21 players were a few who did play well for the Dolphins, the most notable being wide receivers Duriel Harris (1977-83) and Mark Ingram (1993-94). The jersey’s carousel seems to have stopped for the time being with Brian Hartline
, who this past season became only the fifth Dolphin in history to record consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, now in possession of that number for the sixth straight year. One player who wore #82 wound up receiving more attention when he was drafted than anything he ever did as a player – wide receiver Larry Shannon, who Jimmy Johnson drafted in the third round in 1998. Proving even the great ones slip up occasionally, Johnson, who was one of the best talent evaluators ever in the NFL, had to pass on Randy Moss when it was the Dolphins’ turn to pick in the first round because he had traded that pick away earlier in the day. So Johnson selected Shannon instead two rounds later, and actually found himself comparing Shannon to Moss, saying Shannon was “bigger, he’s taller, he’s faster.” That probably wasn’t Jimmy’s best talent evaluation. As an aside, that also was one of two memorable episodes for Johnson that draft. During the seventh round, probably when fatigue started to settle in, Jimmy brought his dog, a teacup Yorkshire Terrier named Buttercup, into the draft room. To the nation’s surprise, ESPN’s war-room camera caught Buttercup running up and down on the draft room table while the Dolphins were mulling over their selection. Jimmy then drafted offensive lineman John Bundren, who admitted he was watching when Buttercup made his national TV debut, and was a little surprised by it. “I don’t know,” said Bundren. “It doesn’t look like the type of dog that Coach Johnson would have.” Probably not the best thing for a seventh round draft pick to utter, and needless to say, Bundren didn’t make the team.
The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #82 includes Doug Moreau (1966-69); Otto Stowe (1971-72); Bo Rather (1973); Mel Baker (1974); Cotton Speyrer (1975); Morris Owens (1975-76); Harris (1977-83); Fernanza Burgess (1984); Harris (1985); James Pruitt (1986-87); *Todd Feldman (1987); James Pruitt (1987-88); Andre Brown (1989-90); Scott Miller (1991-92); Mark Ingram (1993-94); Frank Wainright (1995-98); Shannon (1999); Roell Preston (1999); Kevin McKenzie (1999); Jed Weaver (2000-02); Kendall Newson (2003); Bryan Gilmore (2004-05); Derek Hagan (2006-08) and Brian Hartline (2009-13)).
Tomorrow: What original Dolphins player who wore #81 scored the team’s first touchdown in Super Bowl VII?
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