Number 34 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 34.

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

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 34 for at least one regular season game:

WR Ron Sellers (1973), RB Jim Braxton (1979), Don Testerman (1980), RB Woody Bennett (1980-88), RB Nuu Faaola (1989), RB Tony Collins (1990), RB Aaron Craver (1991-93), DB Tyrone Braxton (1004), DB Tim Jacobs (1996-97), RB Ron Moore (1998), RB Cecil Collins (1999), RB Thurman Thomas (2000), RB Travis Minor (2001), RB Ricky Williams (2002-03, 2005, 2007-10), RB/KR Marcus Thigpen (2012-13), RB Damien Williams (2014-15), RB Senorise Perry (2017-18), RB De'Lance Turner

The debate:

There is no real debate for the top spot at number 34 because it belongs to Ricky Williams, even though he does have a complicated legacy with the Dolphins. But there's no taking away from the fact he's second on the team in all-time rushing yards and he is the only Dolphins player to lead the NFL in rushing, which he did when he had the best individual season in team history outside of Dan Marino's brilliant 1984 record-setting performance. Woody Bennett was claimed off waivers from the Jets by the Dolphins in 1980 and the former University of Miami back went on to start 62 games over nine seasons. He had a big year in 1984 when the Dolphins reached the Super Bowl, as he rushed for 606 yards and seven touchdowns. Marcus Thigpen joined the Dolphins out of the CFL in 2012 and had some interesting highlights. In his first year, he had both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns and in 2013 he had the game-winning touchdown in the 24-20 victory against the New England Patriots in Miami.

Worth noting:

Sellers joined the Dolphins in a trade with the Cowboys after catching 31 passes and averaging 21.1 yards per catch in 1972, but he played only three games for Miami, was released the following year and never played again in the NFL. ... Testerman was a 10th-round pick of the Dolphins in 1976 before he was traded to Philadelphia in training camp, then returned four years later to play five games. ... Jim Braxton played 10 games for the Dolphins in 1979 after spending seven-plus seasons as the backfield partner of O.J. Simpson in Buffalo. ... Tony Collins was a second-year pick of the Patriots and former Pro Bowl selection when he joined the Dolphins in 1990 after being out of the NFL because of a drug-related suspension, but he lasted only one game in Miami before being waived. ... Craver had limited production in his two seasons wearing 34 for the Dolphins, though he did have a great performance (8 carries, 72 yards, 1 touchdown) in a 31-0 victory against San Diego in the 1992 playoffs. ... Tyrone Braxton played 16 games as a backup in 1994 sandwiched around 12 years with the Denver Broncos (seven before, five after). ... Cecil Collins was one of the most physically gifted running backs the Dolphins have ever had, but he arrived as a fifth-round pick with off-the-field issues in his past and he was suspended from the team after eight games as a rookie and eventually released after he was arrested on burglary charges. ... Thomas closed out his Hall of Fame career with one season in Miami, but it was cut short by a knee injury. ... Williams split his four seasons in Miami wearing 34 and 26, and in his two years wearing 34 he had modest rushing totals, though he caught 21 passes each year.

The top three:

1. RB Ricky Williams

2. RB Woody Bennett

3. RB Marcus Thigpen

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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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