We move on to day seven in our countdown of the top numbers in Miami Dolphins history. Today, we take a look at the fourth ranked number in team history.
Our fourth best number for the Dolphins' franchise is the one top six number that is not in the Hall of Fame, as well as being the last number in our countdown that could be worn by another player. It's the 99.
The first player to wear the number 99 for the Dolphins did so with a one year stint in 1969. Wide receiver Jimmy Hines appeared in nine games for the Dolphins that season, after being selected in the sixth round of the 1968 Draft by the team. He had two receptions for 23 yards. Hines appeared in one more NFL game, a 1970 contest for the Kansas City Chiefs, but did not record a reception.
After the one season with Hines, no one would again hold the number 99 until 1985, when George Little took it. The defensive end would hold on to the number for three seasons, appearing in 39 games with 19 starts. He recorded five sacks in his career, with one fumble recovery.
Rick Graf would next hold the jersey number, playing in it for Miami from 1988 to 1990. Graf actually played for Miami as a rookie in 1987, having been the team's second round pick, but wore the number 58 that season. From 1988-1990, Graf played linebacker for Miami in the 99. He played 28 games during that span, starting 20, with two sacks, one interception, and three fumble recoveries.
After Graf, Chuck Klingbeil donned the jersey from 1991 to 1995. Playing defensive tackle, Klingbeil would appear in 78 games for the Dolphins, starting 65 of them. He played every game over the last three years of his career, having missed one game in each of the 1991 and 1992 seasons. Klingbeil recorded 268 career tackels, with 7.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery.
The 99 makes the top ten countdown because of the player who wore it next. In 1997, third round draft pick, defensive end Jason Taylor put on the number. He would wear it every year he played for the Dolphins, a span that ranged from 1997 to 2007, 2009, and 2011.
Over his 13 year Miami career, Taylor would appear in 204 games, with 186 starts, spending times as both a defensive end and as a linebacker. He tallied 712 tackles for Miami, with 131 sacks, eight interceptions, three interception returns for touchdowns, 62 passes defensed, 43 forced fumbles, 27 fumble recoveries, 6 fumbles returned for touchdowns, and two safeties.
Taylor spent the 2008 season with the Washington Redskins following a trade, and the 2010 season with the New York Jets. In all, the pass rush master recorded 139.5 sacks in his career.
He was named to six Pro Bowls (2000, 2002, 2004-2007) and was a First Team All Pro selection three times (2000, 2002, 2006). He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, and the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2007. He was also selected by the NFLPA as the Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Taylor was named to the NFL's All-2000s Team, and is the league's record holder for fumble return touchdowns. He was selected the NFC/AFC Defensive Player of the Month three times, the third most selections in NFL history.
Team honors for Taylor include the Newcomer of the Year award in 1997, the Dan Marino MVP Award four time (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006), and the Don Shula Leadership Award twice (2002, 2006). Taylor was inducted into the Dolphins Ring of Honor on October 14, 2012, along with his brother-in-law, former Miami linebacker Zach Thomas.
During the 2010 season, when Taylor was playing with the New York Jets, linebacker Micah Johnson appeared in one game with Miami, wearing the 99. He was waived soon after, and it is his only appearance in the league so far
The number 99 is currently unassigned.