If all goes well for quarterback Daunte Culpepper in his grievance against Miami, he might celebrate Independence Day with an additional meaning.
Culpepper’s grievance is scheduled to be heard June 29 in South Florida, NFL Players Association lead attorney Richard Berthelsen said Thursday. An arbitrator will hear the case and is expected to rule in no more than a week, although rulings have often been rendered in less time.
Culpepper and the NFLPA are contending that the Dolphins violated the spirit of his contract by not allowing him to practice in team drills during the team’s mini-camp last weekend. The Dolphins have been trying to trade Culpepper. He has twice told them he wants to be released instead and said he will block any trade.
Jacksonville has expressed the most interest in Culpepper, but the Jaguars are unlikely to trade for Culpepper and his $5.5 million base salary this season. The Jaguars are expected to wait for Culpepper to be released.
Berthelsen compared Culpepper’s grievance with one the NFLPA won on behalf of Steve McNair last year against Tennessee. There are differences in the cases. McNair was completed barred from the Titans facility. Culpepper has never been barred from the Dolphins facility.
The Dolphins have declined to comment on the grievance. However, the team believes it did not have to allow Culpepper to practice because he is not completely healthy from a knee injury he suffered in the 2005 season and which subsequently required surgery last December. The Dolphins feared that if Culpepper was reinjured, they would be liable for his contract this year.
Culpepper said before the mini-camp last week that he was cleared by both Dr. James Andrews and the Dolphins team doctors to participate in the mini-camp. That was before the Dolphins completed a trade for quarterback Trent Green, who is expected to start this season.