It didn't come as a surprise to many people when Coach Dave Wannstedt promoted rookie tight end Randy McMichael to the starting unit. But the Dolphins' fourth-round pick was one guy who didn't really see it coming.

McMichael was promoted after two impressive preseason performances, highlighted by his spectacular touchdown leap into the end zone in the 24-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Thursday night.

"I didn't really expect it," McMichael said Tuesday. "What I expected was that I would be playing more, but I didn't expect that. When Coach came in and told me, I was very happy about it and just excited at the same time because it was a goal of mine that I wanted to achieve."

McMichael was clear from the start of training camp that he was shooting for a starting job, and began impressing Dolphins coaches almost the day two-a-day practices began.

The Dolphins wanted to see McMichael get it done in preseason games before getting overly excited, and McMichael's five receptions in two games have taken care of that.

Even McMichael's teammates have been impressed.

"Randy has been making some great plays," said quarterback Jay Fiedler. "He came in early in the spring and we saw the talent. He really got up to speed mentally with everything that we are asking of him. He has been making some great plays and he is blocking better at the tight end position. The guys that are making plays are the guys that coach is going to put out there."

As exciting a time as this is for McMichael, he is trying to remain grounded.

"I was happy, but at the same time I was still humble, happy and humble," McMichael said. "It was just a promotion. It doesn't mean anything. Things could change before opening day."

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