Vick among four signed
QB Marcus Vick
QB Marcus Vick

Posted May 16, 2006


Coach Nick Saban decided to go ahead and give Marcus Vick a shot to win a job with the Dolphins, although it might not be at quarterback. Vick was one of four players signed by the Dolphins, a group that also included veteran linebacker Keith Newman.

Newman, who played for Minnesota last season, was one of two unrestricted free agents signed by the Dolphins, the other being tight end Keith Heinrich, who came over from Cleveland.

The fourth player signed was former Browns cornerback Michael Lehan.

Of course, it's the signing of Vick that's the most intriguing.

Vick looked rather unimpressive as a quarterback during the Dolphins' rookie minicamp, but his athletic ability makes him an interesting prospect as a wide receiver and perhaps a punt return.

The thinking is that maybe Vick can become another player in the mold of Antwaan Randle El, a former quarterback at Indiana who has had a productive career as a receiver/returner with the Steelers, who he left this offseason to sign as a free agent with Washington.

Of course, Vick has a lot of baggage stemming from his day at Virginia Tech, and he figures to have a short leash with the Dolphins.

"I want to make it very clear that we will not condone any behavior issues in the future relative to Marcus Vick," Saban said. "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.

"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. Marcus has made a commitment to this organization and our fans to represent the Miami Dolphins in a first-class manor."

Heinrich originally was a sixth-round draft choice of Carolina in 2002. He played his rookie season with the Panthers before spending the next two years (2003-04) with the Browns. He was on Cleveland’s injured reserve list with a knee injury for all of 2005. In his NFL career, he has played in 18 games, including three starts, and has caught nine passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

Newman, meanwhile, was signed to compensate for the failed trade for New Orleans linebacker Courtney Watson.

Newman was a fourth-round draft choice of Buffalo in 1999, and has played with the Bills (1999-2002), Atlanta (2003) and Minnesota (2004-05) in his seven NFL seasons. During that time he has appeared in 92 regular season games, including 76 starts, and recorded 407 tackles, 23 sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and seven forced fumbles.

He could conceivably battle for the starting outside linebacker that was vacated by the offseason release of Junior Seau.

Finally, Lehan was among the 43 tryout players at the Dolphins' rookie minicamp. He played with Cleveland the last three years after the Browns made him a fifth-round draft choice in 2003. He was released by the team on Feb. 23, 2006. In his three NFL seasons, the 6-0, 190-pound Lehan has started four of the 32 games in which he has appeared.



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