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Miami Dolphins All-Time Top 100 Players: 49. Mercury Morris

Mercury Morris was part of a fearsome three headed rushing attack through the first half of the 1970's.

Eugene Morris was a 5'10" running back out of West Texas A & M. Miami chose him in the third round of the 1969 NFL Entry Draft with the 63rd overall pick. He picked up the nickname "Mercury" early in his career because he was, um, fast.

As a rookie, Morris gained 110 yards on the ground and 65 yards receiving, appearing in all 14 games. His real value that season was as a return man. He took back 25 punts for 172 yards and led the AFL with 43 kickoff returns for 1,136 yards. He returned one kickoff for a 105 yard touchdown in a season opening 27-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Miami finished the season with a 3-10-1 record.

Morris gained 6.8 yards per carry in 1970, totalling 409 yards on only 60 carries. He also totalled 812 yards on 28 kickoff returns, including a 96 yard touchdown in a 37-20 victory over the Boston Patriots in week 12. Miami finished with a 10-4 record, qualifying for their first ever playoff.

In 1971, Morris gained 315 yards on 57 carries, scoring once. He also gained 423 yards returning only 15 kicks, including a 94 yarder in a 34-13 loss to the New England Patriots in week 12. For his efforts, he was selected to his first career Pro Bowl. The Dolphins made it all the way to Super Bowl VI, where they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, 24-3.

1972 would see the Dolphins complete a season sweep of everybody, finishing 17-0. Morris scored an NFL high 12 touchdowns, gaining exactly 1,000 yards on 190 carries. Along with Larry Csonka, the two were the only teammates to each total at least 1,000 yards in a season. Morris was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. In the Dolphins week nine 52-0 victory over the Patriots, he scored a career high three touchdowns, and on three separate occasions broke the 100 yard barrier.

Morris would be selected to his third Pro Bowl in a row in 1973 as the Dolphins repeated as Super Bowl Champions, 24-7 over the Minnesota Vikings. He averaged an NFL high 6.4 yards per carry, gaining 954 yards on 149 carries, scoring 10 touchdowns. In a week three 44-23 victory over New England, he gained a career high 197 yards on only 15 carries, scoring three touchdowns.

In 1974, Morris was limited by injuries to only five games. He gained 214 yards on 56 carries as the Dolphins finished 11-3 before sustaining a first round exit in the playoffs against the Oakland Raiders, 28-26.

Morris returned to the starting lineup in 1975, gaining 875 yards on 219 carries. Miami finished out the season 10-4. He would join the San Diego Chargers in 1976 before hanging it up following the season.

Morris played a total of seven seasons in Miami, gaining a Dolphin fourth best all-time 4,133 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns on only 804 carries. His 5.1 yard career rushing average is first on Miami's all-time list (minimum 50 rushes).

After his playing career was over, Mercury was convicted of a cocaine trafficking charge. He successfully challenged the legitimacy of certain evidence, overturning the conviction and procuring an early release (after four years).

Mercury is now a motivational speaker and frequently appears with the rest of the "perfect season" Miami Dolphins.

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