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NFLPA files grievance on Culpepper's behalf

MIAMI (June 12, 2007) -- Daunte Culpepper is getting help from the NFL Players Association in his quest to be released from the Miami Dolphins.

The NFLPA filed a grievance on Culpepper's behalf, with hopes that the matter can be resolved within a week, said Richard Berthelsen, the union's general counsel.

"They're breaching his contract by refusing to employ him or letting him go someplace else," Berthelsen said.

The grievance is similar to one filed by the NFLPA last year against the Tennessee Titans after the team barred Steve McNair from working out at its facility. McNair was eventually traded to Baltimore for a fourth-round draft pick.

The Dolphins acknowledged receiving the complaint, but declined further comment. Culpepper also did not immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press.

Culpepper -- who started at quarterback for the first four games for the Dolphins last season -- asked to be released last week, shortly after Miami acquired Trent Green from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins told Culpepper they wanted to trade him; Culpepper, who is owed millions over the remaining seven years of his contract, said he wants a release and vowed to block any trades.

Culpepper was among five quarterbacks taking part in individual drills when a minicamp began June 8; about an hour into the first of five scheduled practices over the weekend, though, Culpepper walked off the field, escorted by a member of the team's security staff. Afterward, Culpepper said quarterbacks coach Terry Shea told him he was barred from team drills.

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said repeatedly last weekend he couldn't specifically comment on the Culpepper situation.

"We're expediting the case, meaning it has to be heard as soon as possible," Berthelsen said. "Every day that goes by, he's kept from going to another team and showing he could be their starter."

Culpepper suffered a serious right knee injury in 2005, was traded by the Minnesota Vikings to Miami for a second-round pick that offseason and surprised many by opening the season as the Dolphins' starter. He was hampered by knee problems, sacked 21 times in those four games and ultimately shut down for the remainder of the year.

He received medical clearance to fully resume football activities last week.

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.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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