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 85.
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 85 for at least one regular season game for the Dolphins:
DE Johnny Holmes (1966), LB Nick Buoniconti (1969-76), WR Terry Anderson (1977-78), WR Bo Rather (1978), WR Jeff Groth (1979), WR Mark Duper (1982-92), WR Eddie Chavis (1987), TE Ronnie Williams (1993-95), WR Lamar Thomas (1996-98), TE Desmond Clark (2002), TE Donald Lee (2003-04), TE Will Heller (2005), TE Jason Rader (2006), TE Kory Sperry (2009), WR Gerrell Robinson (2014), WR Greg Jennings (2015), TE Dominique Jones (2016), TE A.J. Derby (2017-18), TE Chris Myarick (2020), WR Tommylee Lewis (2021)
The breakdown of 85 with the Dolphins
We have arrived at the first number with two players who clearly deserve a No. 1 ranking. First there's linebacker Nick Buoniconti, the leader of the No-Name Defense and eventual Hall of Famer. Then there's Mark Duper, who is first in franchise history in receiving yards, second in receptions and third in touchdown catches. At first glance, it's easy to suggest that Buoniconti deserves the nod because he is, after all, in the Hall of Fame. But the reality is that Buoniconti played as many years with the Boston Patriots as he did with the Dolphins. Buoniconti was a three-time all-star for Miami (two Pro Bowls, one AFL) and a one-time All-Pro. Duper was a three-time Pro Bowl selection but never made All-Pro. On the one hand, it could be argued that Duper benefited from playing with Dan Marino, but it also coud be said that Buoniconti was surrounded by really good players on the Dolphins defense of the 1970s. Like we mentioned earlier, they're both deserving. Among others to have worn 85 for the Dolphins, Ronnie Williams played 41 games in three seasons as a backup tight end, though he caught only five passes in those three years. Lamar Thomas joined the Dolphins after spending three years with Tampa Bay and the former University of Miami standout was mostly a backup, though he did have a memorable three-touchdown game in a victory over the Denver Broncos late in the 1998 regular season.
Bo Rather wore 82 as a rookie in 1973 after being a fourth-round pick, but he returned to the Dolphins in 1978 after four-plus seasons with the Bears and wore 85. He had one catch for 39 yards in that 1978 season. ... Jeff Groth played only four games for the Dolphins after being a eighth-round pick in 1979, but he went on to have a seven-year NFL career. ... Desmond Clark had only two catches in 11 games with the Dolphins in 2002, but he had 51 the year before with Denver and went on to have four more seasons with at least 40 receptions after leaving Miami. ... Donald Lee was cut after two seasons in Miami but went on to play five more years in the NFL. ... Greg Jennings played his last of 10 NFL seasons with the Dolphins and caught 19 passes while starting five games.
The top three Dolphins players with number 85
1. LB Nick Buoniconti
2. WR Mark Duper
3. WR Lamar Thomas