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DOLPHINS READY FOR MONTANA

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Troy Vincent and William White are eager to foil a quarterback matchup unique in NFL history.

Defensive backs Vincent and White face difficult assignments tonight when Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins play host to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs.Montana is questionable because of a sore left foot that forced him to miss the Chiefs' overtime loss to Denver eight days ago. If he's able to play, the game will be the first to feature two quarterbacks who have each thrown for more than 40,000 yards and 250 touchdowns.

The Dolphins anticipate that Montana will play.

"He's the legend," cornerback Vincent said. "When he's back there, they're usually winning. We need a big win, and we're hoping he's back there."

Chiefs safety White offered a similar sentiment regarding Marino.

"It's a pleasure to play against the best," White said. "Anybody at this level has to love to compete, and when you're going against one of the very best, you don't need any pep talks."

Both teams do need a heroic performance from their quarterback. Kansas City (7-6) is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1989; the Dolphins (8-5) are on the verge of repeating their late-season collapse of 1993.

Montana and Marino have thrown for a combined 84,524 yards, nearly double the distance of a marathon. That would be an NFL record for two starters in one game.

But the 38-year-old Montana has gotten more mileage out of his yardage, helping San Francisco win the Super Bowl four times. The 33-year-old Marino, by contrast, is still looking for his first NFL championship.