Let's carry on with our look back at some of the the Dolphins' all-time greats - as we identify the greatest players in team history to ever wear each individual uniform number. You can see all of my previous picks by clicking here. Today we will focus on numbers 41 through 50.
Read over my picks and then be sure to tell us your thoughts below.
Number 41 - Keith Byars, FB, 1993-1996
This one was a close one. But Byars, in his 3+ seasons with the Dolphins, was a valuable member of Miami's passing attack. Byars, in his three full seasons in Miami, averaged 53 receptions per season for 464 yards. He also made the Pro Bowl in his first season in Miami. No other Dolphin has made a Pro Bowl wearing the #41. But honorable mention has to go to Fulton Walker - who led the league in yards per kick return in 1983 and also returned a kickoff 98 yards in Super Bowl XVII to put the Dolphins on top 17-10 heading into halftime.
Other Candidates: Fulton Walker, Norris Thomas
Number 42 - Paul Warfield, WR, 1970-1974
Ah yes, the great Paul Warfield. No, I wasn't alive to see him play. But the highlights that are shown of him are impressive. Just as impressive are his numbers. He reached the Pro Bowl all five seasons in Miami and was a 2 time first-team All-Pro. But what is most impressive are his yards-per-catch averages. In his five seasons with the Dolphins, Warfield never averaged under 17.7 yards per reception. His career average of 21.5 yards per catch as a Dolphin is tops in team history. He also has the two top yards-per-reception seasons in team history, averaging 25.1 yards per catch in 1970 and 23.2 yards per catch in 1971.
Other Candidates: Jeris White
Number 43 - Terry Kirby, RB, 1993-1995
Though Kirby spent three seasons in Miami, he only wore the #43 for two of them. However, he was wearing it during his outstanding rookie season - and that's enough to earn this honor. That year, as a rookie, he caught 75 passes, a team rookie record. Those 75 catches are also good to rank 5th all-time in team history for any player - rookie or not. His 874 receiving yards as a rookie ranks 2nd in team history - trailing Chris Chambers and his rookie season by just nine yards. And no rookie has ever gained more yards receiving in a single game than Kirby did in December of '93 against the Bills - picking up 148 yards receiving on 9 catches.
Other Candidates: Bud Brown, Bob Neff
Number 44 - Paul Lankford, CB, 1982-1991
Lankford was never outstanding - but he was never terrible, either. He started 72 games for the Dolphins at cornerback - including 65 starts between '85 and '89. He intercepted 13 passes in his career, including a career-high 4 in 1985. And that's enough to get the nod here when your toughest competition is coming from a running back who spent just one year in Miami and a fullback who was good but never great.
Other Candidates: Rob Konrad, Bobby Humphrey
Number 45 -
Johnson spent his entire nine year career with the Dolphins and was part of two Super Bowl winning teams. He started 111 games at cornerback for the Dolphins. His 22 career interceptions ranks Johnson 10th in team history. And his 4 fumble recoveries in 1970 was the 5th most in the league that year.
Other Candidates: Brian Walker
Number 46 - Pete Johnson, FB, 1984
Really not much to choose from here. Only five players have worn the number in team history. It came down to S/KR Don Bessillieu and FB Pete Johnson. Bessillieu has 5 career interceptions in 19 career starts. He also averaged over 22 yards per kick return in 1980. Meanwhile, Johnson had 9 rushing touchdowns in just 13 games as a Dolphin in 1984 - which led the team that year. So I'm giving Johnson the nod here because at least he led the team in something during his very brief time in Miami.
Other Candidates: Don Bessillieu
Number 47 - Glenn Blackwood, S, 1979-1987
This one was pretty easy. Blackwood started 106 games at safety for the Dolphins during his nine years in Miami. And he was a force back there in Miami's secondary. His 29 career interceptions ranks Blackwood 4th all-time in team history (tied with Patrick Surtain).
Other Candidates: Darrell Malone
Number 48 - Gerald Small, CB, 1978-1983
Another number where there really aren't any players who stand out. But Small did start 77 games at cornerback for the Dolphins over his 6 years in Miami. And he ranks one spot ahead of Curtis Johnson in career interceptions (9th place with 23). His 4 interceptions as a rookie in 1978 is the third most in team history.
Other Candidates: Bob Petrella
Number 49 - William Judson, CB, 1982-1989
Some tough competition for this spot among some defensive backs. Charlie Babb had a solid career as a role player for the Dolphins in the '70s. Cornerback Jimmy Warren spent four years in Miami, beginning with the inaugural team in 1966. Warren was actually a Pro-Bowler in '66, too. But Judson had a bigger impact for a longer period of time than those other two. His 24 career interceptions ties him for 6th place all-time in team history. He started 106 games between '83 and '89. And he was always a reliable, if unspectacular, player in the secondary during the '80s.
Other Candidates: Jimmy Warren, Charlie Babb
Number 50 - Larry Gordon, LB, 1976-1982
And now we finally begin our quest into the linebackers. This number came down to two guys, in my opinion - Larry Gordon and Dwight Hollier. But I gave Gordon the edge because he had more sacks, interceptions, and fumble recoveries than Hollier did. Hollier was also only a true starter for four seasons, while Gordon was a starter for all 7 of his seasons in Miami. But Gordon's life came to a tragic end in July of 1983 when he collapsed while jogging in Arizona where he lived. He died that day from what doctors said was "heart disease." Rumors of Gordon's use of cocaine surfaced, too. But toxicology reports did indicate that there was no sign of drugs in his system at the time of his death. Gordon was just 29 years old.
Other Candidates: Dwight Hollier