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Rookie enjoying camp despite distractions

8/12/2004 - Miami Dolphins

Editor's note: Running back Fred Russell, signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Iowa, will chronicle his training camp experiences for ESPN.com.

We lost another projected starter on offense when wide receiver David Boston went down with a knee injury last week. It happened in a non-contact drill so nobody is at fault. It just happened.

After word spread that David was lost for the year, some broadcasters and national writers said that our season is over. My guess is they were making that statement because Ricky Williams quit and David suffered an unfortunate injury.

I'm not going to speak like I've already made the team, but I am currently a member of the team, and I can tell you that nobody wearing a Dolphin jersey has given up. I know some people have said we're jinxed, but we can either hang our heads or keep getting better. I can't speak for anybody else, but I know I've never quit at anything and I'm not about to start now. I'm still trying to get better and I can tell nobody else on the team has given up. If you don't think so, please come to one of our practices because you'll see a team working hard every day.

We worked in a different venue last week when we scrimmaged with the Houston Texans in Houston, which is where David was injured. It was great to go against another team instead of our defense. For me it was an awesome feeling to get out there on the field at Reliant Stadium during the scrimmage. The offensive line did a really good job opening holes for us and I had a few carries and broke one for a really nice gain. Some of my homeboys from back in Michigan left me messages saying they saw the run on SportsCenter and that Sean Salisbury said some nice things about me. That was cool to hear.

Since we got back from Houston, we've been working hard at it getting ready for our preseason opener on Saturday against Jacksonville. It's been warm down here this week, but I've been concerned with other things. During the day, I'm trying to make a positive impression on the coaches by running hard when I get the ball in position drills, seven-on-sevens and 11-on-11 drills. I also am trying to catch every ball that our quarterbacks throw to me. I'm studying the playbook every night trying to get a better feel for the offense. I want to be ready Saturday night.

I have good memories playing in Florida. The last time I played in the state, I was MVP when the Iowa Hawkeyes got a big win over Florida in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. I hope to carry the momentum from what I think has been a successful camp for me to the field against the Jaguars. A win sure would help our fans forget about the negative things that have happened in the last four weeks to our franchise.