Dolphins learn if they erred this week

Did the Dolphins give up on Daunte Culpepper too soon? The Raiders hope to reap the rewards this week. Cam Cameron - the man who shipped him out of town is in danger of losing it all.

Not only is Dolphins rookie head coach Cam Cameron on the hot seat because of his 0-3 start, now he faces the potential embarrassment of losing to the Oakland Raiders and their starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper. The same quarterback that Cameron basically shoved out of Miami two months ago and didn't even give a chance to earn a starting job over his pet favorite Trent Green, a 37-year-old quarterback who was coming off a major concussion and a down year in Kansas City.

Cameron is downplaying the matchup, barely mentioning Culpepper's name.

"Nothing has changed in my mind. When you are in the league long enough, you cross so many paths year to year," Cameron said. "Nobody is pulling against Daunte Culpepper. Obviously, this week is a little different, but we wished him well, and that has not changed."

Culpepper, who cited Mahatma Gandhi after the Dolphins finally gave him his release on July 17, more than a month after Culpepper asked for it because he felt he was not receiving a fair chance to beat out Green. He filed a grievance through the NFLPA to the league citing such.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win," Culpepper, who serves as his own agent, said in an e-mail. "Now that I have won my freedom and I get to choose my next team, I am just like many other people who have to go out and find employment so that I can take care of my family."

Culpepper took the high road as well on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to play healthy in front of the people down there in Miami," Culpepper said. "But other than that I feel like now I get a chance to show them who I am healthy."

Culpepper, 30, relieved banged-up starter Josh McCown in the second half of last week's 26-24 victory over the Browns. He was 8-of-14 for 118 yards and helped bring the (1-2) Raiders back from a 17-16 deficit by directing two scoring drives. McCown didn't practice Wednesday while nursing a broken finger, broken left toe and sore right foot.

"He doesn't move like he did one time back in Minnesota so he understands his strengths and weakness," Kiffin said. "I know that he'd love to get a shot to play in this game, not because it's Miami, just because he'd probably get a shot to start, and he has great confidence in his ability."

Green said people would be, "reaching" if they billed this a matchup of quarterbacks.

"I don't think Daunte and I will be on the field at the same time," Green said. "I'm trying to help this team find a way to win and he's doing the same."

Green, who sustained a similar devastating knee injury before the 1999 season and then ended up re-establishing his career with the Kansas City Chiefs said he tried to give Culpepper encouragement when they were in Miami together, but the former three-time Pro Bowl Vikings quarterback wasn't interested in Green's medical history.

"After I came back from my knee it was time for me to move on and I went to a team where I was able to establish myself in the league and play for a long time," Green said. "I think this is great opportunity for him, even though it was a one-year deal and obviously signing (top draft pick quarterback) JaMarcus Russell, but it gives him an opportunity to re-establish himself in the league."

Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, who knows he'll be sky-high for the Dolphins-Steelers clash on Nov. 26 for similar reasons, said that Culpepper won't be getting any revenge this week.

"His competitiveness in him and me, a team lets you go and went in a different direction automatically it's you want to be pissed off and have your best game against that team," Porter said. "That's just the natural competitor in you, so of course, he's going to have some business he wants to take care of and feels a certain way that he wants to be the difference maker, to come out here and win this game.

"But it's not going to happen. We're forced into a situation [where] our backs are against the wall. This is a must win for us. Write it how you want to write it. We will win on Sunday."


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