Culpepper Airs Frustration

In a rare press conference, Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper revealed during the team's first mini-camp workout that his "minor surgery" last November to clean up some loose particles and remove scar tissue in his damaged right knee was a much more serious process than the Dolphins led anyone to believe at the time.

Six months after the surgery, Culpepper still was not ready to participate in this weekend's mini-camp at the training facility in Davie.

"I knew when I had that second surgery that the surgery usually takes about six months," said Culpepper even though he didn't reveal that at the time. "It's been about four months now, so I've got about another month, month and a half to continue to rehab and work through it. For the most part, I'm feeling the progress and I'm feeling positive about the way I'm moving forward."

Asked if he thought the Dolphins were fair in terms of how long they said publicly he would be out for, Culpepper had an answer.

"I don't know what you were told by the Dolphins, but I know what I was told from my doctor and he told me this was a 4 to 6 month injury," said Culpepper. "He said I might feel good at two months like I am now. I was running 110s three weeks ago, but I was told to cut back on that because of some soreness. If you get a scab wound and don't let it heal and take the scab off, it's going to bleed. You've got to let it heal and do the right thing.

"I think that my rehab and the process are moving along. I'm taking the proper steps so that we won't have a situation that happened last year. I want to make sure that when I step out there, I'm 100 percent and ready to go fully and move forward. That's my whole mindset and that's what I'm thinking."

Despite the feeling that Culpepper is not really in new head coach Cam Cameron's plans for the upcoming season, as evidenced by continuing talks with Kansas City over a possible trade for Trent Green, Culpepper said he still feels like he's the starting quarterback on this team and is planning accordingly.

"If I'm healthy I expect to start. That's my thing right now," said Culpepper. "I have no concern about anything else but me getting healthy. I'm just a piece of the puzzle. Coach Cameron is trying to put this thing together and I'm just one piece of it. My main focus is to do what I've got to do everyday to become the best player I can and to get better everyday, too, and let the pieces fall where they may."

Asked if he thinks he'll be a member of the Dolphins next season, Culpepper answered "I would hope so, but that's not my decision. I'm going to work just like I'm going to be here. Anything other than me getting healthy is not my concern." CULPEPPER ON OTHER SUBJECTS:

• IF GM RANDY MUELLER OR CAMERON HAVE TOLD HIM WHAT THEIR PLANS ARE FOR HIM:

"I'm under contract. The most important thing that they could tell me is already what I'm thinking; I've got to get healthy and everyday try to get a little better. In the long haul, I've gotten a little better so everyday I've got to take small steps."

• ON IF THERE ARE ANY DOUBTS IN HIS MIND THAT HE WILL MAKE IT BACK ON THE FIELD:

"There are no doubts. I just visited my doctor and my knee is stable. It's just not to the point where I can go out and go full speed yet. That's just the process I'm going through. There's no doubt in my mind that I'm going to be ready to play, just 'when' is the question."

• ON THE CHALLENGES OF PLAYING IN CAM CAMERON'S OFFENSE:

"Just me retaining all of the information. It's a lot of stuff to retain and I've been working very hard on it. It's a lot of writing stuff down and calling it out loud. Just like with any offense, you have to get used to it. I look at it like it's all the same thing but it's different terminology. Learning different terminology is where it gets confusing. That's what I'm going through right now, just absorbing all the terminology and getting used to calling it different things."

ON WHAT HE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH THIS OFFENSE WHEN HE'S HEALTHY:

"One thing that sticks out for me is his play calling timing. Play calling is all about timing and he has great timing throughout a game. He knows when to call what plays and stuff like that. I'm very excited about working with the guy with his offensive mind."


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