Number 42 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 42.

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

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 42 for at least one regular season game:

WR Bill Darnall (1968-69), WR Paul Warfield (1970-74), DB Vern Roberson (1977), S Lyle Blackwood (1981-86), DB Robert Sowell  (1987), DB Ernest Gibson (1989), S Chris Green (1991-94), RB Terry Kirby (1995), FB Roosevelt Potts (1997), S Trent Gamble (2000-03), RB Doug Easlick (2004), S Norman LeJeune (2005-06), S Gerald Alexander (2011), TE Charles Clay (2012-14), LB Spencer Paysinger (2015-16), CB Alterraun Verner (2017), RB Patrick Laird (2019)

The debate:

There is no debate here when it comes to the top spot because it's Paul Warfield all the way. The speedy and smooth wide receiver was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in 1970 for a first-round pick and his five seasons in Miami only cemented his future place in the Hall of Fame. Warfield was the deep threat in the Dolphins in the 1970s, as he averaged 21.5 yards per catch in those five seasons and twice had 11 touchdown receptions, in 1971 and 1973. The rest of the top three also is pretty clear, with second place going to safety Lyle Blackwood. After played eight years in the NFL, Lyle signed with the Dolphins in 1981 to join his younger brother Glenn and become a key part of the Killer B's defense. Lyle Blackwood started every game for the Dolphins from 1982-84 and averaged three interceptions per year from 1981-84. After being a sixth-round pick in 2011, Charles Clay wore 31 as a rookie before switching to 42 and he had 69 and 58 catches, respectively, in his final two seasons (2013-14) with the Dolphins before he left as a restricted free agent when the team declined to match an offer sheet he got from Buffalo. Clay had seven touchdowns in 2013, including one rushing and six receiving.

Worth noting:

After playing 14 games with nine starts for the Dolphins in 1977, Roberson was part of the package sent to the San Francisco 49ers in the trade for running back Delvin Williams, who would set a franchise record (since broken) with 1,258 rushing yards in 1978. ... After playing three seasons for the Dolphins on special teams from 1983-85 wearing 45, Sowell returned in 1987 to start all three strike-replacement games in the secondary wearing 42. ... Chris Green played 50 games with three starts in four seasons with Miami after being a seventh-round pick in 1991 and had two interceptions in 1993. ... Terry Kirby had 66 receptions out of the backfield in 1995, which was his third season with the Dolphins but his first wearing 42 after being 43. ... Trent Gamble played 39 games in four seasons with the Dolphins after making the team as a rookie free agent and his biggest highlight was a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone in the 2002 season opener against Detroit, a 49-21 Dolphins victory. ... Gerald Alexander, who played two games for the Dolphins in 2011 as part of his five-year NFL career, was hired this offseason to become Miami's defensive backs coach. ... Alterraun Verner played 15 games with two starts for Miami in 2017 in what became his final of eight seasons in the NFL. ... Patrick Laird will be heading into the second season in 2020 after playing 15 games with four starts as a rookie free agent last year.

The top three:

1. WR Paul Warfield

2. S Lyle Blackwood

3. TE Charles Clay

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