Undrafted Hokie QB will get look from Dolphins

Updated: May 3, 2006, 3:01 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Undrafted and still unsigned former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick will attend the Miami Dolphins' rookie mini-camp this weekend to audition for the team's coaches and personnel officials.

Michael Smith
Marcus Vick lacks ideal height for a quarterback. He also lacks playing experience (having started only one season) and doesn't have his superstar older brother Michael's amazing athleticism (though he is considered a better passer). And above all he doesn't, to say the least, have a sterling reputation, thanks to the lengthy rap sheet he compiled during four often difficult years at Virginia Tech. One thing Vick isn't lacking, however, is self-confidence.

To read more of Michael Smith's sitdown with Marcus Vick, click here.

The invitation comes with no strings attached and no promises of employment.

League rules permit clubs to bring in a limited number of free agent rookies to participate in mini-camp sessions. Teams use the practices to evaluate the players on the field and the auditions often lead to contract offers. Whether the Dolphins decide to sign Vick, the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick, probably depends on how well he performs this weekend.

The Dolphins declined to identify players invited to the camp. A statement by coach Nick Saban suggested that Vick and other invitees may be long shots to receive a contract offer.

"As we did last year, we are going to bring in a number of unsigned players to our rookie mini-camp, strictly for evaluation purposes," Saban said. "This doesn't mean we are about to offer any of them a contract. All we are doing is finding out as much as possible about each of these players. This is a continuation of our overall evaluation process and does not imply a commitment of any kind."

Dismissed from the Hokies squad in January, for what university president Dr. Charles Steger termed "the cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play," Marcus Vick was not among the 255 players selected in the draft. Some teams inquired about him in the two days since the draft, but none offered a free agent contract.

Tommy Reamon, Vick's high school coach, said he talked with Vick Wednesday about the tryout.

"He's excited. We're all excited," Reamon said. "This is the steal of the draft class. He's the most versatile player the Dolphins have had in years."

There is a possibility that, if the Dolphins don't offer Vick a contract and no other NFL club demonstrates interest in him, he might have to consider the CFL as an option for beginning his professional career.

Miami lists just three quarterbacks -- recently acquired veteran Daunte Culpepper, untested veteran Cleo Lemon and Brock Berlin -- on its roster. Culpepper continues to rehabilitate from three torn ligaments in his right knee and it is not certain yet if the former Minnesota Vikings starter will be recovered for the start of the regular season. Lemon, a two-year veteran obtained last year in a trade with San Diego, has yet to play in a regular-season game. Berlin, viewed as a developmental-type prospect, is currently playing in the NFL Europe League with the Hamburg Sea Devils.

The Dolphins have been attempting for weeks to complete the addition of former Detroit starter Joey Harrington, but the Lions have balked at Miami's trade offers.

Beyond his off-field issues, Vick also lacks experience, and he appeared in just 24 games during his college tenure. He was redshirted as a freshman in 2002 and suspended from the team for the entire 2004 season. Vick split playing time in 2003 and then started all 13 games in 2005.

"He made decisions that were out of character and wrong, and he has learned from them," Reamon said. "He's asking for an opportunity."

Vick completed 207 of 346 passes for 2,868 yards, with 19 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. At the combine workouts in February, he measured 6-feet and 200 pounds and he has been time at 4.47 in the 40-yard dash.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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