MIAMI – The Dolphins, in dire need of help on the defensive line, signed a player Monday who has something the franchise hasn’t seen in more than three decades – a Super Bowl ring.

Keith Traylor has three.

Traylor, who signed a two-year deal, will now try to help coach Nick Saban and the Dolphins reach the playoffs.

The signing of Traylor, 35, means two things: the Dolphins’ search for help at defensive tackle could be over, and so could Tim Bowens’ career with the Dolphins.

Bowens, the Dolphins’ first-round pick in 1994 and the last remaining player from the Don Shula era, was already contemplating retiring. A back injury forced him to miss 14 games last season, and he hasn’t been able to work out with the team this offseason.

Traylor, a 14-year veteran, has been a member of three championship teams – the 1997 and ’98 Denver Broncos and 2004 New England Patriots. The Patriots released Traylor on May 4, and the Dolphins began pursuing him because of Bowens’ condition and the fact Larry Chester is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.

Traylor started 10 of 16 games and made 33 tackles for New England last season. He started in two of the Patriots’ three playoff games.

Traylor, 6-2 and 340 pounds, could fill a spot where the Dolphins are desperate for help, and his veteran leadership won’t hurt a team trying to come back from a 4-12 season.

Traylor, a native of Malvern, Ark., played linebacker during his first three years in the league before moving to the line.

To make room for Traylor on the roster, Miami waived linebacker Billy Strother.

(c) 2005, The Miami Herald.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-05-23-05 2056EDT

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