They were the faceless force whose primary function was to protect Dan Marino.
Offensive linemen generally receive attention only when they commit a penalty or miss a block that results in the quarterback being sacked.
The workmanlike, low-profile nature of their role in football may be a factor in why the offensive line collectively has been the most successful unit of the 1994 Dolphins in their careers after football.
"That doesn't surprise me. That's probably the most cerebral bunch of players in the league," said Don Shula, coach of the '94 team.
Tim Irwin, who played 14 seasons as a tackle, was a licensed attorney for four years before joining the Dolphins in the middle of the '94 season. Now a juvenile court judge for Knox County, Tenn., Irwin attended law school after football practice when he played for the Minnesota Vikings.
"With offensive linemen, they are more grounded, considered a more conservative group," said Bert Weid¿ner, a starting right guard that season and now vice president of sales with Envision Rx Options, a pharmacy benefits management company.
Other starters on the offensive line:
• Center Jeff Dellenbach is football coach and athletic director at American Heritage High School in Plantation, and was co-founder of a sports training center in Weston.
• Left guard Keith Sims once owned 16 Dunkin' ¿Donuts stores in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and is a sideline reporter on Dolphins radio broadcasts.
• Left tackle Richmond Webb is co-owner of Environmental Machines & Services, a company near Houston that provides consulting and practical solutions in wastewater treatment.
• Right tackle Ron Heller ran a company selling industrial equipment before coaching, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Tight end Keith Jackson is the color analyst for Arkansas Razorbacks radio broadcasts and heads the P.A.R.K. foundation, an after-school program for kids that he founded in his hometown of Little Rock.
Heller said he believes offensive linemen prepare more than other players for post-NFL life because they tend to be the most humble players. There are no official statistics to measure their contributions on the field.
"I knew when I got out of football, I was going to work even though I made a huge amount of money. That's what men do. They work. It never dawned on me, 'Oh, you made enough,' " said Heller, who credits his wife with handling the family's investments during his NFL career.
Later the Hellers bought a company that sold industrial equipment, mostly pumps. He soon found himself driving 400 miles to visit mines to sell a $10,000 pump so he could make $2,000 in profit.
Some of the backup linemen also have done well after football. Tackle Jeff Novak is a partner in a development company building a 114-home community in Georgetown, Texas. Center Tim Ruddy is CEO of Vista International Technologies, a Colorado-based company that has patented the Thermal Gasifier, a system designed to convert waste into clean thermal and electrical energy.
Offensive linemen aren't the only success stories from the '94 Dolphins. Marino's net worth was estimated at $37 million earlier this year by Celebnetworth.org.
Among others, punter John Kidd has founded and operated several companies, mainly in telecommunications and health care. Defensive back Troy Vincent is vice president of NFL Player Engagement, which helps players in preparing for careers after football, and linebacker Dwight Hollier is a licensed professional counselor in Charlotte, N.C.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times