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99 Days Of 99 Jersey Numbers: #85

Posted Jun 14, 2014

Dolphins fans probably will remember that standout wide receiver Mark Duper wore #85 during his tenure with the team, a career that eventually led to his enshrinement in Miami’s Honor Roll in 2003.

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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Dolphins fans probably will remember that standout wide receiver Mark Duper wore #85 during his tenure with the team, a career that eventually led to his enshrinement in Miami’s Honor Roll in 2003 along with fellow wideout Mark Clayton. Both Duper and Clayton eventually finished their playing days ranked among the top three all-time team leaders in receptions, reception yardage, and touchdowns and along with quarterback Dan Marino helped re-write many of the NFL passing records. For the most part, #85 was worn by Dolphins receivers (including tight ends) during the team’s history, with only two exceptions - both defensive players. One was John Holmes, a defensive end who had a three-game cup of coffee for the Dolphins in 1966, their inaugural season. The other was a little more well known - in fact he is a Hall of Famer and like Duper also is a member of the Dolphins Honor Roll - linebacker Nick Buoniconti. He was the driving force of Miami’s great “No-Name Defense” and was one of the captains of the undefeated 1972 team. He remains the only Dolphins defensive player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 2001) and was named to the Dolphins’ Honor Roll in 1991.

Two interesting notes about his uniform number - Buoniconti kept #85 when he was traded to the Dolphins from the Boston Patriots before the 1969 season, having worn that number since he joined the Pats as a rookie in 1962. And along with Duper, it means that #85 was worn by two different players who eventually made the Dolphins Honor Roll, one of only two jersey numbers to share that distinction. Can you name the other jersey that was worn by two Honor Roll inductees? (Hint: You’ll have to wait more than two months before you get the answer, since it will take that long for our countdown to reach that number.)

The complete list of Dolphins who have worn #85 includes John Holmes (1966); Buoniconti (1969-76); Terry Anderson (1977-78); Bo Rather (1978); Jeff Groth (1979); Duper (1982-87); *Eddie Chavis (1987); Duper (1987-92); Ronnie Williams (1993-95); Lamar Thomas (1996-00); Desmond Clark (2002); Donald Lee (2003-04); Will Heller (2005); Jason Rader (2006) and Kory Sperry (2009).

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Tomorrow:  What NFL Rookie of the Year wore #84?

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PREVIOUS JERSEY NUMBERS: 99 | 98 | 97 | 96 | 95 | 94 | 93 | 92 | 91 | 92 | 90 | 89 | 88 | 87 | 86

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