Culpepper tackles many issues

Daunte Culpepper met with the South Florida media Monday for the first time since the trade that brought him to the Dolphins from the Minnesota Vikings. Culpepper touched a wide variety of subjects, from his rehabilitation to his new team to the charges against him recently being dropped.

Not surprisingly, the first topic of conversation with Culpepper was his rehabilitation and whether he thought he would be ready for the Sept. 7 regular season opener at Pittsburgh.

"Well, me personally, that's my goal, but there really is no timeline on when I am going to be 100 percent or ready to play," Culpepper said. "That's my personal goal, but I still have a good picture of the whole thing and I'm real good with reality and I know that an injury like this, it's tough to come back from that quick. That's my goal right now and I am going to continue to work that way."

Culpepper indicated he has moved his rehabilitation to South Florida, where he's also doing some on-the-field work with his new teammates.

For now, Culpepper is limited to mostly straight-line running and trying to strengthen the right knee he injured last October at Carolina.

Culpepper, of course, will be helped by the fact he's very familiar with the Dolphins offense because it's the system he also played under when Scott Linehan was his offensive coordinator with the Vikings.

Culpepper said he was told by Dr. James Andrews that the surgery on his right knee couldn't have gone any better and he expects to be as mobile as ever when he gets back to 100 percent.

"I am going to go at this thing full force," Culpepper said. "I am going to play the way I have always played with the same tenacity and the same eagerness to make plays and get it done either way, running or throwing. Whatever it takes."

Culpepper was asked by the Nov. 19 game against Minnesota, but he said that was "just another game on the schedule."

Culpepper also said he felt no extra pressure because he's the first big-time quarterback the Dolphins have had since Dan Marino retired.

"I don't think anybody can put any more pressure or expectations on me than I put on myself," he said. "That's how I look at that and that's how I deal with it. Ever since I was a kid, I always expected to go out and be the best I could be and perform at a very, very high level. Hopefully, we can just carry that enthusiasm over to victory. That's really what it's all about – winning games."

Culpepper, as he told ESPN after the trade, said the move to Miami represents the "second half of his career." And that second half got off to a good start when the charges against him were dropped.

His reputation, however, was damaged by the allegations against him relating to the infamous Love Boat incident.

"I am not going to sit here and worry about somebody thinks this or thinks that," Culpepper said. "If anybody really wants to know, they can just ask me or ask my teammates that I played with, or ask somebody who really knows me what type of person I am. They'll know it. I am not going to worry about anything that was said. Everybody has got to be careful."

The bottom line for Culpepper is that he's excited about his new opportunity and sees great things in store for the Dolphins.

"I think that with the players we have right now, we have a great opportunity to be a good football team, even to be a great football team," he said. "Not just with the players, but with the coaching staff we have in place. Everybody needs to file in line and get to work. I am very excited about what we can do right not, not two or three years later."


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