DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins have signed free-agent quarterback Dan Marino.
Yes, that one.
More than 17 years removed from his final NFL pass and 12 years after his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marino “re-signed” with the Dolphins on Wednesday — as were five other prominent former members of the team, all inking ceremonial one-day contracts designed so they could officially retire as members of the franchise.
“This organization, the team, the city, football, it all means so much to me,” Marino said. “It’s been my first love. Besides family, my first love is football … and the Miami Dolphins.
“To sign a contract for a day, I’m very proud of it. I’ve been very proud to only be a Dolphin and not play anywhere else. And the fact I’ve been a free agent for 16 years and no one’s called is kind of upsetting to me.”
Pro Football Hall of Famers Bob Griese and Larry Little also were among Wednesday’s signees, along with Kim Bokamper and Nat Moore. Moore is the Dolphins’ Senior Vice President for special projects and alumni relations. Sam Madison was delayed and not at the event when it started, but was also issued a one-day deal.
Combined, those six players spent a combined 74 seasons with the Dolphins. Marino retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, completions, attempts and touchdowns — and remains in the top five all time in each of those categories.
There was some hilarity; Marino needed to put on his reading glasses before signing, Dolphins general manager Mike Tannenbaum made a joke about who has worse knees right now — Marino or injured Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill — and there was some discussion regarding the salary structures.
The Dolphins said they issued the contracts as part of their ongoing ways to honor the team’s past.
“This means a lot to us,” Tannenbaum said. “Our history, our legacy, we’re all so proud of it and all the contributions you guys have made to the organization means a lot to all of us.”
Marino — who works for the team as special adviser to Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel — announced his retirement in March 2000, two months after his final Dolphins season ended with a playoff loss at Jacksonville.
But like many players, he never actually filed retirement papers with the NFL.
“I love being a Miami Dolphin,” Marino said. “Even if it’s for a day, that’s fine with me.”
Griese was the starting quarterback for both of Miami’s Super Bowl wins in the 1970s. Little played 12 seasons in Miami, including on both of the Super Bowl champion teams. Moore spent 13 years with the team, catching 74 touchdown passes. Bokamper spent nine seasons with the Dolphins, helping them reach two Super Bowls in the 1980s. And Madison intercepted 31 passes in his nine Miami seasons.
“It was a fun time,” Moore said. “And today’s an opportunity to remember those times.”