GADSDEN GETS STARTING NOD

What some observers had anticipated as a heated training camp battle already has been settled. Coach Dave Wannstedt has announced that Oronde Gadsden will start at wide receiver opposite Chris Chambers.<P>

After Wannstedt said a few months ago that Chambers definitely would start after his sensational rookie season, it was thought that Gadsden and James McKnight would battle for the other starting job.

But Wannstedt said before the team's first training camp practice that Gadsden would get the nod.

When asked about the significance of naming Gadsden the starter, Wannstedt replied, "Naming Ordone means he's the starter. He's been our leading receiver the last couple of years. He's the start and he's got to hold on to the job."

For Gadsden, who is fully recovered after offseason shoulder surgery, this obviously was good news.

"It's something I worked hard toward," Gadsden said after Thursday morning's practice. "It's a goal of mine, obviously. It's a goal of everybody on the team. It's one of the things you're happy you accomplished."

Gadsden has been a starter throughout most of his four seasons with the Dolphins, the only exception coming in 1999 when Tony Martin and O.J. McDuffie were the starters.

But he spent a couple of months not knowing whether he would lost his starting job.

"Obviously it was a wake-up call," Gadsden said. "It only shows that no matter what level you are you've got to stay hungry and go out there and fight for what's yours. Nothing's going to be given to you. And you've got to expect that's the way it's going to be."

McKnight, who is not due to report to camp until the rest of the veterans show up on Thursday, still figures to get plenty of action in the Dolphins' three-wide alignment.


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