Bowens, Duhe, Fernandez, Moore, Morrall and Strock enshrined.
Up in the sky the sun kept ducking in and out of the clouds, but at the Joe Robbie Alumni Plaza in front of Gate C at Sun Life Stadium six more permanent sunbursts were unveiled.
Last year it was the nine Miami Dolphins Hall-of-Famers that were inducted into the inaugural Walk of Fame class, and four of them returned to watch this class of “Unsung Heroes” get their moment. Dolphins owner Steve Ross introduced them to the crowd, starting with linebacker/defensive end A.J. Duhe (1977-84), then defensive tackle Manny Fernandez (1968-75), quarterback Don Strock (1974-87), quarterback Earl Morrall (1972-76), defensive tackle Tim Bowens (1994-2004) and wide receiver Nat Moore (1974-86).
“It’s exciting and I laid it on the line for this organization so I greatly appreciate them giving me the recognition that they’re giving me today,” said Duhe while choking back tears. “That’ll be there for generations and my kids get to see it and their kids will get to see it.”
All of the inductees knew the honor was coming and actually dressed the South Florida media earlier in the week at a press conference, but the reality of seeing their tile unveiled with their names inside a sunburst next to Robbie’s statue really made it hit home. Fernandez had his entire family with him, minus the littlest of his grandkids, and really put it into perspective.
“It’s special. It really is,” Fernandez said. “It’s been 35 years and I didn’t think this would ever happen, but like everybody has said I’m just so honored to be even thought of in the same breath with all of these great Dolphins. It’s extra special and I won’t be here forever but as long as it outlives me that will be okay. We were like a family back then and we’re still a family now and these reunions get more special because we are shrinking, but that’s life. You never know when you’re going to see them again.”
Bowens and Strock also had to pinch themselves as they looked at their names engraved in that tile and realized that they will be there forever. Moore, who is a Senior Vice President for the Dolphins and stays on top of all of the alumni activities, saw even greater meaning in the honor.
“I think it’s more about not you but that you are included with a great group of guys,” Moore said. “And it’s not just about your football accolades, it’s about the team accolades, it’s about the community and it’s about being part of an organization. It should show a lot of the young guys that if you go out and do things the right way, work hard and play hard and put the team first, good things can happen for you.”