Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams could push the Miami Dolphins to .500 heading into the bye week. But it will also be a game where the Fins honor two of the greatest defensive players in franchise history.
Middle linebacker Zach Thomas and outside linebacker/defensive end Jason Taylor will both be inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll on Sunday. Both players had long careers and they teamed up to form one the backbone of the Dolphins defense for more than a decade.
Thomas played his college football at Texas Tech before being drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Once Thomas entered the starting lineup, the only thing that could keep him away from the field was injuries.
Thomas finished his career with 1,076 tackles, 20.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and 17 interceptions. He played all but one year of his 14 year career with the Dolphins and retired after the 2008 season. Thomas recorded more than 100 tackles in four different seasons and had a total of four career defensive touchdowns.
Jason Taylor was a perennial Pro Bowler after he was selected in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft out of Akron University. He became a full-time starter in 1998 and from there never looked back on a career that lasted 13 years.
Taylor racked up a total of 139.5 sacks from his time playing defensive end and outside linebacker. Taylor’s top season in sacks was 2002 when he pulled down 18.5. But Taylor wasn’t a one-trick pony when it came to defense.
The former Dolphins defensive end had 530 tackles for his career along with eight interceptions and three defensive touchdowns. Taylor also had a total of 77 passes defensed during his career, which would make some cornerbacks and safeties jealous. Taylor forced 46 fumbles throughout his years in the NFL, according to pro-footballreference.com.
Both players have been pillars of the community in South Florida and even though Taylor joined the New York Jets for a season, he’ll always be loved by Dolphins fans.