6 former Dolphins have died in the last year
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Dave Hyde wrote:
Last week, after receiving the news of Harry Galbreath, Mark Higgs started down the phone list of former Dolphin teammates he's called too often in recent months.
"Harry's dead,'' he told Keith Sims, who played left guard to Galbreath's right guard for five seasons.
"Harry's dead?" Sims said.
"He collapsed at work."
"I just talked to him last week," Sims said.
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Over the next few minutes, in the course of their shocked conversation, Sims asked the question all of them are asking, all these 1990s Dolphins, now that their defining number is an age and not a jersey: "How many have died now?"
Galbreath was the fourth Dolphin age 45 or younger to die this summer. Six have died in the past year. Reggie Roby, who died in 2005, is the seventh of those who played in the 1990s to pass.
Inside these teams, this isn't just a story of lost friends, past glory or physical bills coming due. It's equally a story of the survivors wondering about, well, surviving.
"Everyone's nervous,'' Higgs said.
"It's scaring all of us,'' Sims said.
"I went on a diet and lost 90 pounds because of this,'' Jeff Dellenbach said.
"I just got back from the doctor when you called,'' Richmond Webb said.
Higgs was in Clarksville, Tenn., staying with Galbreath's family. As a Dolphins running back, he lived with Galbreath and Ferrell Edmunds. As a friend, he's spent the past few days busy with legal papers, funeral arrangements and comforting Galbreath's mother and two sons.
"You don't get this many people in a normal business dying in their 40s,'' Higgs, said. "But we're not normal, especially the bigger guys, who have a lot of wear and tear on them.
"People look at the glamorous lives of a football player. But here we are, 10, 20 years down the road, and this is the other side of it."
From the time they enter the machine in high school to the time they leave pro football, players don't worry about health like you or I do. Teams provide doctors, physicals, the best care possible.
"I didn't go get my first physical after football until Reggie Roby died,'' Sims said. "That woke me up. I thought I was in perfect health and the doctor said there were some issues like my weight and cholesterol."
Then there are eating habits.