CSONKA JERSEY RETIRED

No Dolphins player has worn the number 39 since Larry Csonka left the team following the 1979 season, and no one ever will wear it again.<P>The Dolphins have ensured that by retiring the number, with the official ceremony scheduled for halftime of the Dec. 9 Monday night home game against the Chicago Bears.

Csonka's jersey will become the third in team history to be retired, following Bob Griese's number 12 and Dan Marino's number 13.

The Dolphins' all-time rushing leader, Csonka was enshrined on the Dolphin Honor Roll in 1990 and he was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

"To be honest, I've never really thought about my number much," said Csonka, who attended the team's quarterback school session on Wednesday morning and gave a speech at the kickoff banquet later that night. "After I quit playing, I never noticed anybody wearing it. I think that's more attributable to (equipment managers) Dan Dowd and Bobby Monica and some of the other fellows that just didn't put it back on the field.

"Contract to popular rumor, I never paid for that. That was unsolicited."


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