Safety Arturo Freeman talked to reporters on Wednesday, the same day reports surfaced that his agent had asked the Dolphins to trade him.

Freeman has gone from being the starter at strong safety to being even passed by veteran Shawn Wooden in the pecking order on defense.

In his talk with reporters, Freeman was asked if he thought it was fair that newcomer Sammy Knight was anointed as the starting strong safety before the first preseason game.

"What is unfair?" Freeman asked. "It's really up to who wants to look at it that way. I just want to play football.

"I'm not going to worry about how to handle the situation. I'm just working on Arturo's game. That's the bottom line."

It's pretty clear Freeman isn't happy about his demotion, but Coach Dave Wannstedt said after Wednesday's practice he had no intention of trading Freeman.

"I think he's doing a good job, and I told him that," Wannstedt said. "It's really not a story. There's really nothing to talk about."

The Dolphins earlier this week traded fullback Deon Dyer to Houston, and another safety, Scott McGarrahan, also has asked the team to trade him.

But Freeman, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2003 season, has some value because of his versatility and the fact he plays on special teams.

In the meantime, this isn't doing much for Freeman.

The truth of the matter, though, is that it's totally obvious that Knight is a better player than Freeman.

"It's preseason," Knight said. "I'm only one play away from being a starter. All I can do is control what Arturo can do."

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