Jeff Cross was a 6'4" defensive end for the Missouri Tigers in college. Miami selected him in the ninth round of the 1988 NFL Entry Draft with the 239th overall pick.
The Dolphins posted their first losing record since 1976 during Cross' rookie season, going 6-10. Cross appeared in every game for Miami, making his first career start at right defensive end in a week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 40-24. He totalled 11 tackles for the Dolphins, and was mostly used on special teams.
Cross' role increased in 1989, as he started every game at right defensive end. He collected three sacks in a week two 24-10 victory over the New England Patriots, and finished the season with a team best 10 sacks, along with 59 tackles. Miami missed the postseason with an 8-8 record.
1990 would see Cross compile what many would consider his best season. He totalled 60 tackles along with a career high 11.5 sacks to again lead Miami, starting every game at right end. For his efforts, he was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl. Miami's 12-4 record qualified for a return to the playoffs, where they lost the AFC Championship game to the Buffalo Bills. Cross made three sacks in a week four victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-6.
Cross made seven sacks to lead Miami, along with 42 tackles in 1991, as Miami finished at 8-8. In 1992, he made 46 tackles and five sacks, splitting his 16 starts between left and right defensive end. Miami won the AFC East with an 11-5 record, and again made it to the AFC Championship, also again losing it to the Buffalo Bills. Miami's rushing defense was the AFC's third best, allowing 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns.
Cross would mount a resurgence in 1993, amassing a career high and team fourth best 93 tackles and a team best 10.5 sacks. He tied his career high with three sacks twice, first in a week five 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns, then later in a week nine 19-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Miami started the season with a 9-2 record through their first 11 games, but lost their last five to finish 9-7, missing the playoffs.
Cross was slowed by an ankle injury in 1994, causing him to break his consecutive starts streak at 81 games. In 10 starts over 13 games, he still managed to lead the Dolphins with 9.5 sacks, also making 28 tackles. He also made his only career interception off of Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe in a week nine 23-3 victory. Miami went 10-6, making the playoffs and beating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17 in the wildcard matchup before bowing out to the San Diego Chargers, 22-21 in the Divisional Playoff.
1995 would mark Cross' final season in the NFL. He started every game at left defensive end, making six sacks and 38 total tackles to close out his career. Miami made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but lost in the wildcard round to the Buffalo Bills, 37-22. Miami would release him while he was rehabbing an injury on November 23rd, 1996.
In eight seasons with the Dolphins, Cross totalled a franchise second best 59.5 sacks along with 377 tackles. He also forced 10 fumbles, recovered seven and picked off one pass.