Dolphins talk up new QB

Published March 16, 2006|Updated March 16, 2006

Nick Saban wanted to avoid a big spectacle with new quarterback Daunte Culpepper in town. The Dolphins coach got the newly acquired 6-foot-4, 260-pounder in and out of town without anyone getting a photo, much less a quote.

Saban did all the talking - more than 30 minutes' worth - at a news conference Wednesday to welcome Culpepper, who wasn't there.

Saban said his policy since joining the Dolphins last year has been that new players are unavailable to the media.

"How do we choose who has a press conference and who doesn't?" he said. "I want the left tackle to feel like his role with this team is just as important as anybody else's."

The Dolphins acquired Florida native Culpepper from the Vikings on Tuesday for a second-round pick. He became available after he played poorly last year, tore three ligaments in his right knee, took part in the notorious Lake Minnetonka boat party and quarreled with management.

Saban shrugged off Culpepper's recent lapses as "a few bumps in the road."

"Babe Ruth hit lots of home runs; he struck out the most, too," Saban said. "If we get Babe Ruth, we'd be talking about how much he struck out?"

Culpepper, 29, passed a physical with Dolphins doctors Tuesday before the trade became final. The knee injury forced him to miss the final nine games last year, but Saban hopes to have him available for the opener.

GIANTS: Former Ravens safety Will Demps signed and is a likely replacement for Brent Alexander, who was released last month. Demps, a four-year veteran who has spent his whole pro career with the Ravens, has appeared in 57 games with 46 starts and has four career interceptions. He missed the final five games last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

SAINTS: Quarterback Drew Brees was introduced and said he welcomed all questions about his injured throwing shoulder. "I don't mind talking about it. I've got a big smile on the inside because I know where I'm going to be in about four months," he said. "So all this speculation, especially during this process where people just like to kind of drag you down they'll be eating their words. It's not the first time somebody said I couldn't do it. I'll leave the talking to my play come September." Brees had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He expects to begin throwing by April. Before Brees was introduced, former starter Aaron Brooks was cut.

NFLPA RE-ELECTS VINCENT: Bills defensive back Troy Vincent was re-elected as president of the NFL Players Union. It will be the second two-year term for Vincent.