Number 33 and the Three Dolphins Who Wore It Best

Alain Poupart

The countdown to the start of the 2020 regular season has begun now that we're under 100 days away, so we'll honor every day the best players to wear the correspondent number for the Dolphins.

Today, we're at number 33.

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. LB Earnest Rhone; 54. LB 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

39. RB Larry Csonka; 38. DB Calvin Jackson; 37. CB J.B. Brown; 36. FB Don Nottingham; 35. DB Walt Aikens; 34. RB Ricky Williams

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.

Players who wore 33 for at least one regular season game:

FB Billy Joe (1966), RB Hubert Ginn (1974), RB Stan Winfrey (1975-77), DB Billy Cesare (1980), RB Bo Mattthews (1981), RB Rich Diana (1982), RB Craig Ellis (1986), RB Ronald Scott (1987), RB Sammie Smith (1989-91), RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar (1996-99), FB Deon Dyer (2000-02), RB Vick King (2004), DB Jereme Perry (2007), CB Nate Jones (2008-09), RB Daniel Thomas (2011-13), CB Brandian Ross (2014), RB LaMike James (2014-15), CB Torry McTyer (2017), RB Kalen Ballage (2018), CB Jomal Wiltz (2019)

The debate:

The Dolphins haven't have as much success with the number 33 as they have with 34, but Karim Abdul-Jabbar stands as the clear top choice here. As a rookie third-round pick, Abdul-Jabbar rushed for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns in 1996, ending the team's 17-year drought without a 1,000-yard rusher. He followed that with 892 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns in 1997 and 960 yards and six touchdowns in 1998 before he was traded to Cleveland during the 1999 season. Stan Winfrey was a second-round pick in the 1975 draft, but he didn't start any of the 28 games he played for the Dolphins in two-plus seasons. He had 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 1976. Sammie Smith's tenure in Miami was disappointing considering he was the ninth overall pick in the 1989 draft, but he did rush for 831 yards and eight touchdowns in 1990. Deon Dyer was a fourth-round pick in 2000 who played 45 games with one start mostly as a lead blocker and special teams player. Cornerback Nate Jones played two seasons for the Dolphins and started six games, and he was a contributor to the 2008 AFC East title run as he recorded three sacks and one interception while contributing on special teams. He then started five games in 2009. Daniel Thomas was a second-round pick in 2011, but he also didn't pan out. He rushed for 1,480 yards in four seasons, but started only three games, had only 13 touchdowns and never averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry.

Worth noting:

The Dolphins selected Billy Joe in the 1966 expansion draft after he had been selected to the AFL All-Star Game with Buffalo the previous year. Joe started seven games for Miami in 1966 before playing three seasons with the Jets and going on to be a college football head coach for 34 years. His college stops included Florida A&M, where he coached future Dolphins guard Jamie Nails. ... Bo Matthews was selected by the San Diego Chargers as the second overall pick in the 1974 NFL draft, but he never rushed for more than 328 yards in the NFL and he never carried the ball in his three games with the Dolphins in 1981. ... Rich Diana was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins in 1982, but retired after only one season and became a doctor. ... Ronald Scott's NFL career consisted of the three strike-replacement games of 1987 and his best performance came in a 42-0 victory against Kansas City when he rushed for 99 yards and three touchdowns. ... Torry McTyer played two seasons for Miami, though he wore 24 in 2018. ... Kalen Ballage wore 33 as a rookie in 2018 when he rushed for 191 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown at Minnesota. ... Jomal Wiltz started six games as a nickel corner last year, but changed his name to Jamal Perry in the offseason.

The top three:

1. RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar

2. CB Nate Jones

3. FB Deon Dyer


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

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Comments (4)
No. 1-1

What happened to 34?