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Ed Newman now applies life's lessons

Ed Newman, as an offensive lineman (No. 64,

Ed Newman, as an offensive lineman (No. 64, left), protected all-time great NFL quarterback Dan Marino. (Jan. 21, 1985) Credit: AP

When Ed Newman retired from football after the 1984 NFL season, the veteran Miami Dolphins offensive lineman was already going to night law school at the University of Miami.

From winning games to winning cases, from shoulder pads to a judge's robe, from the Nassau County streets of Woodbury to a street named for him in Miami, Newman has come a long way from his years as a top lineman at Syosset High School.

He said his greatest high school memory was leading Syosset past perennial favorite Hicksville in the final game of the 1968 season to win the league. Newman was a Newsday All-Long Island selection that season.

"My life has been filled with remarkable experiences," said Newman, 61, in his 18th year as a judge and still living in Miami, where he played under Hall of Fame coach Don Shula for 12 years.

During that time, Newman went to three Super Bowls -- winning as a special teams player in 1974 when Miami beat the Vikings; missing the 1983 game with a knee injury when the Redskins beat the Dolphins, and losing as a starting guard in 1985 when the 49ers and Joe Montana defeated the Dolphins and Dan Marino.

"There is nothing more gigantic than the Super Bowl. It's a most wonderful thing to be part of something with a unified purpose and high drama," said Newman, a football player and wrestling star at Duke University who was a sixth-round draft pick of the Dolphins in 1973. "We had great coaching, great camaraderie. In my first Super Bowl, I'll never forget the seconds ticking down and standing next to those large-than-life personalities like Shula, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Larry Little and Jim Langer."

Eventually, Newman was an All-Pro lineman and became well known in the community for his football prowess and his off-the-field charitable work in soliciting blood donors. "During my All-Pro years [1981-84] I started the Ed Newman Challenge and corporations and private citizens signed up. When the Dolphins came on board with other organizations, it became a model program around the league."

For his efforts, Miami legislators renamed Northwest 17th Street as Ed Newman Street. "I never thought that would happen. It was a collateral consequence of taking my parents' advice and using football as a vehicle for doing good work," Newman said.

In 1984, he informed Shula during training camp that he was enrolled in night law school. "We need you as an All-Pro lineman," he recalls the no-nonsense coach telling him. "We'll be watching you like a hawk. So I made a superhuman effort to make sure I was fit and powerful. I'd do homework before football practice. After practice I'd grab a quick dinner with my wife and two daughters before night classes. Then I'd close the library at midnight. I made a tremendous sacrifice."

It was worth it as he became a lawyer in 1987 and was elected a county court judge in 1994. His current six-year term ends in 2016 and he would like to serve one more term after that. "It's a misdemeanor court. I love the intellectual side and the high drama," Newman said. "I carried a lot of lessons forward from coach Shula. You can't be late to a game; you can't be late to my court."

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