Fernandez to enter Dolphins' Walk of Fame
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Standing side by side were two men who both played defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, but in different eras, which is why Manny Fernandez found himself looking up to Tim Bowens.
The 6-foot Fernandez played at 250 pounds in the 1970s and now weighs a svelte 205. The 6-foot-4 Bowens played at 325 pounds a decade ago and looks it.
"What makes you think the game has changed?" Fernandez said with a laugh.
Fernandez and Bowens are among six former players to be inducted into the Dolphins' Walk of Fame, the team announced Wednesday. Joining them in a ceremony before Sunday's game against Jacksonville will be quarterbacks Earl Morrall and Don Strock, receiver Nat Moore and former defensive end A.J. Duhe.
Fernandez played with the Dolphins from 1968-75 and was a member of their Super Bowl championship teams in 1972 and 1973. Morrall (1972-76) also won Super Bowl rings, and Strock (1974-87), Moore (1974-86) and Duhe (1977-84) played on Super Bowl teams.
Bowens (1994-2004) helped Miami reach the playoffs seven times, but that sort of success now seems long ago.
The Dolphins (5-8) are on the verge of their fourth consecutive losing season. But the team led by first-year coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill does show signs of progress, the Walk of Fame newcomers agreed.
"This team isn't rebuilding. They're building," Duhe said. "You can only rebuild something that has been built before. This team hasn't had a built structure or been a state of the art franchise in a long time. But I like the direction of the team."
Strock, a mentor for Dan Marino, said Tannehill provides the Dolphins with a solid foundation.
"They have a bright future," he said. "They have a young quarterback who I think is going to be a star in the league. They're missing a few components, but I don't think they're that far from getting there."
The Walk of Fame was established in 2011, and the first honorees included retired coach Don Shula and the eight former Dolphins players who are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.