Vick, others get look from Miami
DAVIE, Fla. -- On a field filled with NFL prospects, Marcus Vick looked smaller than his listed height of 6 feet, especially when he crouched behind center to take a snap.
"It was kind of crazy seeing him over there," said linebacker Sam McGrew, who played against Vick in college. Now they're teammates -- for the weekend, anyway -- at the Miami Dolphins' rookie minicamp.
Bypassed in the draft last week following a turbulent, abbreviated career at Virginia Tech, Vick eagerly accepted coach Nick Saban's invitation to take part in the three-day camp. The audition began Friday, and Saban stressed there's no guarantee that Vick has a future in Miami beyond Sunday.
"It's a date," Saban said. "We're not getting married."
Vick was one of three quarterbacks taking part in the camp, which included other undrafted free agents, a handful of unsigned veterans and the Dolphins' six draft picks. The scramble for spots on the roster began with the offense running three plays over and over in the first practice.
Vick looked fast and elusive -- but small.
"The guy has obviously got a lot of ability," Saban said. "We certainly thought he had the potential to contribute at some position in the NFL."
That position might be as a kick returner or receiver, if not as a quarterback. While deciding where Vick might play, Saban will gauge his personality and attitude.
"The guy is a tremendous competitor," Saban said. "Maybe sometimes he hasn't channeled his emotions in the right direction as a competitor, and that's probably a maturity issue and obviously something he needs to work on.
"I haven't had a sit-down with him. But that will be part of the process of evaluating him."
Also among the unsigned players trying out was veteran Kyle Turley, who has battled back trouble and last played in 2003 for the St. Louis Rams. He's trying to make a switch from tackle to tight end, and his weight is listed at 260 pounds.
"Here's a player who has had some success in this league," Saban said. "It's an opportunity for us to look at him and see if he does have any potential as a tight end."
Saban declined to let Vick, Turley or other unsigned players speak with reporters. But McGrew, a former Florida State star, offered an endorsement of Vick.
"Marcus Vick is a great guy. He's one of those guys that if you give him time, I believe he'll be a team leader," said McGrew, who played against Vick in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game last season.
"When we played against him, I saw how he got his guys up and he was hyping them like, 'Let's go, let's go, come on, get everything right!' Seeing that, that lets you know what type of player and guy he is."
Vick sat out the 2004 season for disciplinary reasons, then passed for 2,393 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. Saban decided to give him a shot after talking this week with Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.
"Some guys have a lot to offer athletically, and other issues create concerns about whether they're the kind of people you want on your team, and how they affect the team chemistry and affect this organization," Saban said. "But we're also about giving people opportunities."
Wearing a knee brace, QB Daunte Culpepper is running and throwing in the offseason program, and he received a favorable report when examined recently by specialist Dr. James Andrews, Saban said. ... Tennessee DB Jason Allen, the Dolphins' first-round pick a week ago, will work mostly at safety this weekend, Saban said. He'll likely get time later at cornerback. ... Among nine rookie free agents whose signings were announced was running back Gerald Riggs Jr. of Tennessee, son of the former NFL star of the same name.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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