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Dolphins' Marcus Thigpen thriving as kick returner

Marcus Thigpen has been one of the few bright spots for the Miami Dolphins this season, as the 26-year-old kick returner has turned into one of the league's best.

Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

Though the Miami Dolphins are riding a three-game losing streak, and the season appears to be going south, there are some bright spots for first-year head coach Joe Philbin. Miami kick returner Marcus Thigpen has carved out a role as Miami's kick returner, and he's turned into one of the best returners in the entire NFL.

Thigpen ranks fourth in the NFL in kickoff return average (29.4 yards). His 96-yard touchdown against Buffalo made him the first player in franchise history to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same season. He had a 72-yard punt return touchdown in the opener at Houston. He also ranks fourth in the league in punt return average at 13.6 yards per return.

Thigpen went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, after spending his college career at Indiana. Thigpen was signed and released by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos in the summer of 2009. Thigpen then went to play in the Canadian Football League, before signing a future/reserve contract with the Dolphins on Jan. 12, 2012.

Though he's not somebody who the Dolphins can build around, Thigpen has been a difference-maker on special teams, and hopefully for the Dolphins, Thigpen will continue to progress and be a consistent weapon going forward.

With dates against the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers coming up, the Dolphins will certainly need Thigpen to be at his best, if Miami is to climb back into the playoff picture.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.