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Dolphins sign Marcus Vick to free-agent deal

MIAMI (May 15, 2006) -- The Miami Dolphins saw enough potential in Marcus Vick -- both on and off the field -- to believe he deserves a chance as a free agent.

Vick, the brother of Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, signed with the Dolphins May 15, agreeing to a free-agent deal after his many problems at Virginia Tech cost him a chance to be selected in the NFL draft.

"As an organization, we did an enormous amount of research, including consulting with professionals in detailed, in-depth analysis to feel comfortable that giving Marcus an opportunity as a free agent is a risk worth taking," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said in a statement released by the team.

"I want to make it very clear that we will not condone any behavior issues in the future relative to Marcus Vick. Marcus acknowledges that he has made some mistakes, all of which has resulted in severe consequences for him. They have helped him learn that he will need to make much better choices and decisions in the future or risk similar consequences that could jeopardize his career as a professional player."

Vick, who participated in a three-day minicamp with the Dolphins earlier this month, completed 177 of 289 passes for 2,393 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, leading Virginia Tech to an 11-2 record and berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game in 2005.

But his career with the Hokies included many transgressions. He made an obscene gesture to fans during a game at West Virginia, and stomped on Louisville player Elvis Dumervil's leg during the Gator Bowl.

Vick was suspended by Virginia Tech for the 2004 season because of legal problems, then was eventually dismissed from the team after being stopped for speeding and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

The Dolphins are listing Vick as a "wide receiver-quarterback-specialist," clearly indicating that he could be tried in a number of roles.

During the recent minicamp, Vick spent at least one practice session at wide receiver, and probably isn't being looked at as a serious quarterback candidate -- not with newcomers Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington now at that position.

Miami signed three other free agents: tight end Keith Heinrich, linebacker Keith Newman and cornerback Michael Lehan.

Heinrich was on Cleveland's injured reserve list for the entire 2005 season with a knee injury and has played in 18 games since being drafted by Carolina in 2002.

Newman has played with Buffalo, Atlanta and Minnesota in seven seasons, starting 76 of 92 games and recording 407 tackles, 23 sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and seven forced fumbles.

Lehan, like Vick, attended the rookie minicamp this month on a tryout basis. He spent the last three seasons with the Browns and made 32 appearances, including four starts.

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