Number 35 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 35.

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

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 35 for at least one regular season game:

FB Rick Casares (1966), RB Stan Mitchell (1966-70), RB Clayton Heath (1976), RB Nick Giaquinto (1980-81), RB John Tagliaferri (1987), DB Kerry Glenn (1990-92), S Michael Stewart (1994-96), RB Irving Spikes (1997), CB Ben Kelly (2000), S Shawn Wooden (2001), CB Jimmy Wyrick (2004), CB Eddie Jackson (2005), S Tuff Harris (2007), DB Walt Aikens (2014-18)

The debate:

The Dolphins have had a number of players wear 35, but only one of them was a starter for more than one season. That makes coming up with a top three quite the challenge. Stan Mitchell played part of five seasons with the Dolphins for a total of 42 games with 14 starts. He had modest rushing numbers, with 548 career yards and a 3.2 average. Nick Giaquinto was a backup running back for the Dolphins and had 24 catches in 1980. He later joined Washington where he played in Super Bowl XVII against the Dolphins. Kerry Glenn joined the Dolphins from the New York Jets as a Plan B free agent and played 35 games with  one start for Miami. He had two interceptions, both of them in 1990. Safety Michael Stewart is that one player who started more than one season for the Dolphins wearing number 35. Stewart started all 16 games in 1994 and 1995 after arriving as a free agent and had 180 tackles and four interceptions in those two seasons before he was a backup for nine games in 1996. Eddie Jackson played 29 games with three starts for the Dolphins after being claimed off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. Walt Aikens was a special teams standout for the Dolphins the past six seasons after arriving as a fourth-round pick in 2014. He missed only three games during those six seasons and started four games. He currently is an unrestricted free agent.

Worth noting:

Casares played six games with two starts for the Dolphins in 1966 to close out an impressive 12-year career that started with five consecutive invitations to the Pro Bowl. ... Spikes wore 35 for only the last of his four seasons with Miami, and in that 1997 season he played 12 games and rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns. ... Kelly was a disappointing third-round pick who played two games as a rookie wearing 35 and two more in 2001 wearing 20 before he was waived.

The top three:

1. DB Walt Aikens

2. S Michael Stewart

3. RB Stan Mitchell

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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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