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Dolphins release Culpepper after one season

MIAMI (July 17, 2007) -- The Miami Dolphins released quarterback Daunte Culpepper, ending the former Pro Bowler's short stint in South Florida and wrapping up what became a contentious split between the player and the team.

The Dolphins made the move in a one-sentence release, without further comment.

Miami tried for weeks to trade Culpepper, the former Minnesota star who was acquired by the Dolphins before the 2006 season even though he was coming off major knee surgery. Culpepper never regained his form last year, struggling in four games before the team shut him down so he could continue rehabilitating the knee.

A breach-of-contract grievance filed by the NFL Players Association on Culpepper's behalf against the Dolphins was scheduled to be heard July 18, after the team told Culpepper he couldn't fully participate in offseason practices. That move came shortly after Miami traded with Kansas City for quarterback Trent Green, who's expected to be the new starter for the Dolphins.

Culpepper said his attorneys were told by the Dolphins on July 16 that he would be released, and the veteran formally became a free agent July 17.

"As I was going through this process I heard about a quote by Gandhi that best expresses my thoughts about this victory: '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."

The Jacksonville Jaguars are thought to be among the potential suitors for Culpepper; coaches there told quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and David Garrard earlier this offseason that they would consider acquiring him before training camp if he was available.

"I just hope that there is still a team or two out there that has an opportunity for a hard working quarterback who is willing to come in and contribute wherever needed," Culpepper said. "I am ready to get into a training camp so that I can prepare for the 2007 season."

It's not known if the Dolphins came close to moving him in a trade; Culpepper vowed to block any such moves, saying he wouldn't accommodate the Dolphins by agreeing to a new contract. His existing deal surely made it difficult for Miami to find a team to trade with.

In 84 games as an NFL starter, Culpepper has completed 64.2 percent of his passes and thrown for 21,091 yards and 137 touchdowns.

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