Dolphins release Culpepper
By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
July 17, 2007
MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Dolphins released quarterback Daunte Culpepper on Tuesday, ending the former Pro Bowler's short stint in South Florida and wrapping up what became a contentious split between the player and the team.
The Dolphins made the move in a one-sentence release, without further comment.
Miami tried for weeks to trade Culpepper, the former Minnesota star who was acquired by the Dolphins before the 2006 season even though he was coming off major knee surgery. Culpepper never regained his form last year, struggling in four games before the team shut him down so he could continue rehabilitating the knee.
A breach-of-contract grievance filed by the NFL Players Association on Culpepper's behalf against the Dolphins was scheduled to be heard Wednesday. The Dolphins agreed to release Culpepper on the condition that the NFL Players Association and Culpepper would not pursue a grievance against the team.
"This is the best possible resolution that could have come out of the grievance, so we’re obviously happy with what happened," NFLPA attorney Richard Berthelsen said. "We just wish we could have gotten this done earlier. But we look forward to Daunte getting signed by a new team and having a productive year."
Culpepper's grievance was filed after the team told him he couldn't fully participate in offseason practices. That move came shortly after Miami traded with Kansas City for quarterback Trent Green, who's expected to be the new starter for the Dolphins.
Culpepper said his attorneys were told by the Dolphins on Monday night that he would be released, and the veteran formally became a free agent Tuesday.
"As I was going through this process I heard about a quote by Gandhi that best expresses my thoughts about this victory: 'First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win,"' Culpepper, who serves as his own agent, said in an e-mail. "Now that I have won my freedom and I get to choose my next team, I am just like many other people who have to go out and find employment so that I can take care of my family."
The Jacksonville Jaguars are thought to be among the potential suitors for Culpepper; coaches there told quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and David Garrard earlier this offseason that they would consider acquiring him before training camp if he was available.
"I just hope that there is still a team or two out there that has an opportunity for a hard working quarterback who is willing to come in and contribute wherever needed," Culpepper said. "I am ready to get into a training camp so that I can prepare for the 2007 season."
The Dolphins would have owed Culpepper $5.5 million this season.
It's not known if they came close to moving him in a trade; Culpepper vowed to block any such moves, saying he wouldn't accommodate the Dolphins by agreeing to a new contract. His existing deal, which would have paid him $51.5 million through 2013, surely made it nearly impossible for Miami to find a team to trade with.
In 84 games as an NFL starter, Culpepper completed 64.2 percent of his passes and thrown for 21,091 yards and 137 touchdowns.