Following the 1973 season three of the Miami Dolphins top players opted to leave the NFL and the Dolphins for the World Football League starting in 1975. Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Paul Warfield left the Dolphins to play for the higher paying WFL job. Csonka would receive $1.4 million on a three-year deal. The Dolphins refused to match the contract.
The players would leave the Dolphins officially after the 1974 season’s conclusion. The trio signed to play for a team based in Toronto but that team never took the field and was relocated to Memphis, Tn. The Memphis Southmen would finish the season 7-5 as the league would fold 12 games into an 18 game schedule. The trio of Dolphins played a total of 12 games in the WFL before the league folded due to financial failures and mismanagement.
Paul Warfield would return to the NFL in 1976 and play once again for the Cleveland Browns. Jim Kiick would play two more seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. Larry Csonka was not welcomed immediately back to Miami. He would play three seasons for the New York Giants before returning to Miami for one final season in 1979 before retiring.
The loss of the three players has been a hotly debated topic through the decades since. While the trio were not the only big name NFL stars to leave for the WFL, the fact that all three left at the same time created holes within the Dolphins that Miami couldn’t repair.
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