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Miami Dolphins All-Time Top 100 Players: 32. Tim Ruddy

Tim Ruddy was a pillar of consistency in the middle of the offensive line for the Dolphins for 10 seasons.

Tim Ruddy was a 6'3" center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He was selected as a second-team All-American in his senior season. Miami selected him in the second round of the 1994 NFL Entry Draft with the 65th overall pick. He would don the number 61 jersey as a rookie, and would wear it through his Dolphins career.

Ruddy appeared in all 16 games his rookie season, spelling starter Jeff Dellenbach off the bench and working special teams. Miami won the AFC East with a 10-6 record. The offense scored an AFC best 389 points and an NFL high 6,078 yards. The offensive line allowed 18 sacks, second only to the Cleveland Browns.

Ruddy moved into the starting role at center beginning in 1995, starting all 16 games as Miami qualified for a wild card slot with a 9-7 regular season record. The passing offense gained an AFC high 4,210 yards.

In 1996, Ruddy started every game at center for Miami. The Dolphins jumped out of the gate with a 3-0 record, but staggered to an 8-8 record to close the season out of contention. Karim Abdul-Jabbar gained 1,116 yards behind Ruddy and the rest of the offensive line, and also afforded protection enough for Miami's quarterbacks to throw an NFL low 11 interceptions.

1997 would see Ruddy start each of the 15 games in which he appeared at center. Miami's 9-7 record was good enough for a return to the playoffs as a wildcard. The passing offense gained an NFL second-best 3,792 yards and allowed an NFL second-best 22 sacks.

In 1998, Ruddy started all 16 games at center for the Dolphins. Miami finished the season 10-6, making the playoffs with a wildcard slot. The offensive line continued their first rate protection, allowing an AFC second best 24 sacks of Miami's quarterbacks (Damon Huard was sacked once).

Ruddy continued to start every game at center for Miami in 1999. Miami posted a 9-7 record, again making the playoffs as a wildcard. The Dolphins were in the middle of the road in almost every offensive statistic, doing nothing great but everything just good enough.

In 2000, Ruddy started every game at center for the Dolphins. The team went 11-5, winning the AFC title outright, as Ruddy was selected for his only career Pro Bowl. The offensive line provided Jay Fiedler with the same protection enjoyed by recently retired Dan Marino, allowing an NFL fifth best 28 sacks.

Ruddy started each of the 15 games in which he appeared at center in 2001, as Miami posted an 11-5 record, making the postseason as a wildcard. The passing offense gained an AFC second best 6.6 yards per pass play. With 27 sacks allowed, Miami placed second in the AFC.

In 2002, Ruddy started all 16 games for the Dolphins at center. With a 9-7 record, Miami finished in a three way tie with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets for the AFC East title, but missed out on the playoffs due to tiebreakers. Miami's rushing attack, led by recent acquisition Ricky Williams, led the AFC with 2,502 yards on the ground (second by five yards to the Minnesota Vikings).

Ruddy started 14 games at center for Miami in 2003, which would be his final season. Miami finished the season at 10-6, but missed the playoffs. In 10 seasons with Miami, he appeared in 156 games. After his rookie season, he displayed remarkable consistency by starting 140 of 144 games for Miami at center.

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