1 last game at Orange Bowl for Marino
By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
January 24, 2008
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Dan Marino sat at a table in an enormous sports memorabilia warehouse Thursday, surrounded by racks of NASCAR tires and NFL mini-helmets as he autographed seats from the Orange Bowl.
Each orange plastic souvenir he signed bore the same seat number: 13.
"It's crazy. Coming out of college and when you were a young pro, you never thought there would be this kind of market for pieces of memorabilia," Marino said.
He looked at the stack of Orange Bowl seats and smiled.
"It's kind of pretty cool, actually," he said.
Marino will pitch memorabilia and throw passes at the Orange Bowl on Saturday, when he leads a team of Miami Dolphins alumni against Miami Hurricanes alumni in a flag football game. Seats and other souvenirs will be sold as part of festivities that will serve as a farewell to the old stadium, due for demolition this year.
Marino's relationship with the Orange Bowl dates back 25 years to January 1983, when he was still in college and attended the AFC championship game between the Dolphins and New York Jets.
He was drafted by Miami three months later and played in some of the stadium's most memorable games before the Dolphins moved 10 miles north to their current home in 1987.
"Any time I go to the Orange Bowl, it's going to bring back some great memories," Marino said. "It always seemed like we had a real home-field advantage there."
Eight years into retirement, Marino is confident he can still throw well, but he's less sure about his mobility. He underwent surgery three weeks ago to repair torn cartilage in his right knee, which moved him into double digits in knee operations -- two on the right, eight on the left.
"I'm going to play, but I'm going to be careful," he said. "I just want to be able to walk off."
Marino's teammates are expecteed to include at least one ringer in Jason Taylor, still one of the NFL's best defensive linemen. And he might be Marino's best receiver Saturday.
"He was our fastest wideout when he was a rookie (in 1997)," Marino said with a laugh.
Other Dolphins expected to play for coach Don Shula include Earl Morrall, Mark Duper and John Offerdahl. The Hurricanes will be coached by Howard Schnellenberger, and their team will include Bernie Kosar, Jim Kelly, Ken Dorsey, Bennie Blades, Randal Hill and Bill Hawkins.
Marino studied the rosters and laughed.
"It doesn't look good for us," he said.