After 'whirlwind' week, Beck trying to get settled with Dolphins

After 'whirlwind' week, Beck trying to get settled with Dolphins

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By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Given that they used a second-round draft choice to obtain him, the Miami Dolphins clearly think John Beck might be their quarterback of the future.

Daunte Culpepper, however, still believes he's the quarterback of the present.

"For me," Culpepper said Friday, "the future is now."

So while Beck worked out with his new team for the first time at the start of a three-day minicamp, Culpepper -- still slowed by major knee surgery he underwent in 2005 -- pedaled away on a stationary machine. Still, he intends to be "100 percent" ready when the Dolphins open training camp in about two months.

"That's my expectation," said Culpepper, who wants to play in Miami's minicamp next month. "That's how I feel. ... I'm just moving forward. I'm very excited about being able to make the progress I've made."

Culpepper is his own agent, and took the unusual step before last weekend's draft to issue a statement addressing his future and the speculation that the Dolphins intend to either release or trade him; Miami has been trying to trade with Kansas City for Trent Green.

Such a move would likely end Culpepper's Miami era. Yet he still sounds like he's expecting -- and hoping -- to be under center when the season begins in Washington on Sept. 9.

"I'm an elite quarterback when I'm healthy," said Culpepper, who was sacked 21 times in last season's first four games, the only ones he played in. "So I'm going to work hard."

Miami coach Cam Cameron said Culpepper was somewhere "around the 90 percent range" physically, but will not participate with the Dolphins until he's completely healthy.

So, barring a trade, that leaves Miami a quarterback lineup these days of Cleo Lemon (who started last season's finale), Gibran Hamdan and Beck -- a 25-year-old from Brigham Young.

Fans at the Dolphins' draft party loudly expressed disappointment when Miami skipped over quarterback Brady Quinn at No. 9 overall and took receiver Ted Ginn Jr. After he finished his first practice Friday, Beck trotted to the bleachers and signed some autographs.

Fortunately for him, nobody booed.

"I think it's awesome that we have Ted and I feel very lucky that the Dolphins selected me to come here," Beck said. "I'm going to try to give them all that I've got and try to be the best that I can. As far as fan stuff, criticism, I can't worry about that, because if I worry about that then I'm not playing my game."

Beck said the days following the draft were a "whirlwind" for him. Since arriving in South Florida last weekend, he's spent countless hours trying to learn the basics of the Dolphins playbooks, had many meetings with coaches and introduced himself to new teammates.

And so far, Cameron -- who drew the wrath of Miami fans at that draft party -- likes a lot of what he sees from Beck. He also cautions that the rookie still has much to learn.

"He let the clock run out twice ... and he was shocked that that happened," Cameron said. "But he'll get that corrected. I think, like all young guys, it's a process. The ball seemed to come out as quickly as we thought it would, which I think is important, and he's going to be one of those guys who'll get a little bit better every day."

Culpepper hopes he can say the same.

He's running straight ahead with "no pain" now and insists he'll be ready to help the Dolphins try and reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 season.

"I just want to get to 100 percent and show what I can do," Culpepper said.

Notes:@ Ginn, who has a foot injury, said there's a chance he could wear a protective boot to prevent further problems. He donned a visor and pedaled alongside Culpepper and other injured players during Friday morning's practice. ... Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson -- whom the Dolphins tried trading to Denver this offseason, a deal voided when Wilkinson refused to report -- was not at the mandatory workout. Cameron said the team isn't sure if Wilkinson is planning to play this season.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-05-04-07 1522MDT

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