Beasley ready for action

New Dolphins fullback Fred Beasley takes a lot of pride in his blocking, but he also likes to get his hands on the ball from time to time. He did that quite a bit early in his NFL career, but not so much his last two years in San Francisco, and that's probably the biggest reason he chose to sign with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Beasley wasn't going to return to San Francisco, where he played the first eight years of his career, but the decision to come to Miami was made easier after a conversation with new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

"Coming here, talking to Mularkey, I just fell in love," Beasley said. "He said he loves the fullback, he loves the tight end and we love to run the ball. He was saying the right words and that's what I wanted to hear."

Beasley, who signed a one-year contract in late March, says he has been practicing as the starter, ahead of incument Darian Barnes.

Barnes, signed midway through last season, is purely a blocking specialist. That's where Beasley has the advantage.

A former sixth-round pick, Beasley played both tailback and fullback at Auburn, and he can be a weapon out of the backfield.

Beasley caught more than 30 passes for the 49ers in his first two seasons as a starter and averaged 24 receptions in his first five. But those numbers fell to 10 catches in 2004 and only two last season, when Beasley split time at fullback with Chris Hetherington.

"I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but the last three years it's just been real difficult," Beasley said. "Different offensive coordinators, they bring in their own little thing and we were like a missing link in the offense as far as the fullback. It ain't that I couldn't do the job, I wasn't allowed to get my hands on the ball like I want to. Which I don't ask for that much, but every now and then throw me a bone, you know.

"I see that in this offense, I'm looking forward to it, for Sundays, and just show that, hey, I can still do this. Age and how many years in the league don't even matter. I can still bring a lot to an offense."

While perhaps not as good as Barnes in that department, Beasley also is considered a good blocker.

And he's looking forward to leading the way for another Auburn alum, Ronnie Brown. He's also excited about playing with Daunte Culpepper, whom Beasley called an "icon."

Most of all, Beasley is excited about the opportunity to get a fresh start.

"Like I said, I've just been in bad situations with the 49ers," Beasley said. "They're just going in different routes; sometimes they include the fullback, more times they exclude the fullback. About the only time I do want to be taken advantage of is on the field, and I wasn't.

"I knew it was time to go. A change is always good. I feel like a rookie again, a new guy to this league, just being here. And it makes you appreciate the game even more and work harder just to re-establish your foundation that I kind of created when I first came into the league in '98."

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