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Number 23 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

We're now 23 days away from the start of the NFL regular season, so we honor the best players who have worn that number for the Miami Dolphins

The countdown to the start of the 2022 regular season has begun now that we're under 100 days away, so we'll honor every day the best players to wear the corresponding number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 23.

As a reminder about the ground rules, the top three will be determined only by what the players did while wearing that uniform for the Dolphins.

The top players at each number so far have been:

99. DE/LB Jason Taylor; 98. DL Jared Odrick; 97. DT Jordan Phillips; 96. DT Paul Soliai; 95. DT Tim Bowens; 94. DT Randy Starks; 93. DE Trace Armstrong; 92. LS John Denney; 91. DE/LB Cameron Wake; 90. DE/LB Marco Coleman

89. WR Nat Moore; 88. TE Keith Jackson; 87. TE Andre Tillman; 86. WR Oronde Gadsden; 85. LB Nick Buoniconti; 84. DE Bill Stanfill; 83. WR Mark Clayton; 82. WR Brian Hartline; 81. WR O.J. McDuffie; 80. WR Irving Fryar

79. T Jon Giesler; 78. T Richmond Webb; 77. DE/LB A.J. Duhe; 76. T Branden Albert; 75. DT Manny Fernandez; 74. T Mark Dennis; 73. DT Bob Baumhower; 72. DT Bob Heinz; 71. T Todd Wade; 70. DE Kendall Langford

69. G Keith Sims; 68. T Eric Laakso; 67. G/T Bob Kuechenberg; 66. G Larry Little; 65. OL Jeff Dellenbach; 64. G Ed Newman; 63. G/T Mark Dixon; 62. C Jim Langer; 61. C Tim Ruddy; 60. G Bert Weidner

59. LB Doug Swift; 58. DE-LB Kim Bokamper; 57. C Dwight Stephenson; 56. LB John Offerdahl; 55. Earnie Rhone; 54. Zach Thomas; 53. LB Bob Matheson; 52. LB Channing Crowder; 51. LB Bryan Cox; 50. LB Larry Gordon

49. CB William Judson; 48. CB Gerald Small; 47. S Glenn Blackwood; 46. S Don Bessillieu; 45. CB Curtis Johnson; 44. CB Paul Lankford; 43. S Bud Brown; 42. WR Paul Warfield; 41. FB Keith Byars; 40. S Dick Anderson

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39. FB Larry Csonka; 38. DB Calvin Jackson; 37. CB J.B. Brown; 36. FB Don Nottingham; 35. DB Walt Aikens; 34. RB Ricky Williams; 33. RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar; 32. RB Kenyan Drake; 31. S Brock Marion; 30. RB Bernie Parmalee

29. CB Sam Madison; 28. CB Don McNeal; 27. CB Terrell Buckley; 26. S Jarvis Williams; 25. CB Xavien Howard; 24. RB Delvin Williams

Players who wore 23 for at least one regular season game:

WR Wes Matthews (1966), Charles Leigh (1972-74), RB Joe Carter (1984-86), RB Troy Stradford (1987-90), DB Demetrious Johnson (1987), CB Troy Vincent (1992-95), CB Robert Bailey (1996), DB George Teague (1997), CB Patrick Surtain (1998-2004), RB Ronnie Brown (2005-10), RB Larry Johnson (2011), RB Steve Slaton (2011), DB Troy Nolan (2012), DB Bryan McCann (2012), RB Mike Gillislee (2013-14), RB Jay Ajayi (2015-17), CB Cordrea Tankersley (2018-19); CB Noah Igbinoghene (2020)

The breakdown of 23 with the Dolphins

The number 23 has been very good for the Dolphins, which makes picking out a top three a challenge. Troy Stradford earned NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1987 when he rushed for 619 yards and a touchdown and caught 48 passes, but he wasn't able to match that production his final three seasons before the Kansas City Chiefs signed him as a Plan B free agent in 1991. Troy Vincent had a very good four seasons with the Dolphins after arriving as the seventh overall pick in 1992, coming up with five interceptions in 1994 and 1995, though he didn't make the Pro Bowl in Miami. He left to sign with the Eagles as a free agent in 1996 and went on to earn five Pro Bowl invitations over the final 12 years of his career. Patrick Surtain arrived as a second-round pick in the 1998 draft after the Dolphins traded their first-round pick in 1999 to get him and he more than justified that trade. Surtain started his final 82 games with Miami and made the Pro Bowl in 2002, 2003 and 2004 before he was traded to Kansas City. Ronnie Brown was taken second overall in the 2005 draft and he was a productive running back for the Dolphins, though he didn't quite deliver to the level of his draft status. Brown had one 1,000-yard rushing season in 2006 and was well on his way to a second in 2007 before a knee injury sidelined him after seven games. His best season, though, came in 2008 when he ran the Wildcat to perfection to help the Dolphins win the AFC East title. Brown rushed for 916 yards and 10 touchdowns that season and caught 33 passes on his way to a Pro Bowl invitation. While he had an up-and-down stay in Miami, Jay Ajayi needs to be mentioned for his 2016 performance when he made the Pro Bowl with 1,272 rushing yards and became the fourth player in NFL history with three 200-yard rushing performances in one season.

Worth noting:

Charlie Leigh was the fourth running back on the Super Bowl teams of the 1970s behind Csonka, Kiick and Morris, along with getting work as a punt and kickoff returner. ... Joe Carter played 30 games with two starts after arriving as a fourth-round pick in 1984 and he had his best season as a rookie when he rushed for 495 yards. ... Demetrious Johnson started all 32 games for Detroit in 1985 and 1986 before he signed with the Dolphins for the three strike replacement games of 1987 and he never played in the NFL after that. ... Bailey, who played 14 games with the Dolphins in 1996 in the sixth year of his 11-year NFL career, now is a player agent. ... The Dolphins signed Larry Johnson in 2011, five years after he had rushed for more than 1,700 yards for a second consecutive season. But Johnson was waived after only one game and that was the end of his nine-year NFL career. ... Gillislee was a fifth-round pick in 2013 who rushed for only 21 yards on six carries in three games with Miami before he went to Buffalo, where in 2016 he rushed for 577 yards and led the NFL with a 5.7 per-carry average. he played in the NFL until 2018. ... Tankersley, a third-round pick in 2017, switched to 23 after a promising rookie season, but things turned sour for him from that point and he was waived this summer. ... Igbinoghene wore 23 as a rookie in 2020 before switching to 9.

The top three Dolphins players with number 23

1. CB Patrick Surtain

2. CB Troy Vincent

3. RB Ronnie Brown


Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoupartNFL.