It has been seven years since the Dolphins decided on Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees, and yet Brees still gets reminded about it every time he speaks with Miami media.
Like Thursday, when he was asked if Nick Saban’s account of the sequence of events — that Brees was the Dolphins’ top choice, but they signed Culpepper after Brees failed a physical — was correct.
Brees, who had major shoulder surgery shortly before becoming a free agent, said it was.
“I do remember [the team’s doctors] saying I had a 25 percent chance of coming back and playing,” Brees said.
He beat the odds, leading the league in passing four times and winning a Super Bowl since. Culpepper, meanwhile, threw a grand total of two touchdown passes in his lone season with the Dolphins.
Brees again said he harbors no hard feelings: “I don’t think about it for a second.”
Paul Soliai’s injured knee appears to continue to make progress. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session.
DE Cameron Wake (knee), S Chris Clemons (hamstring/quad), LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) and LB Koa Misi (shoulder) were limited in their participation Thursday, as listed on the first injury report of the week.
“I’m always optimistic,” coach Joe Philbin said about Wake and Soliai playing Monday.
Injured Dolphins who participated fully: WR Brandon Gibson (knee), C Mike Pouncey (ankle), LB Philip Wheeler and S Jimmy Wilson (groin).
CB Dimitri Patterson, who is a long shot to play Monday because of a groin injury, was the only player held out completely.
Sean Payton spent the last year coaching his son’s football team. He said Thursday that being out of the loop was the hardest part of his one-year banishment because of the Saints’ bounty scandal.
He’s clearly back in it now, with the Saints 3-0 and atop the NFC South.
“It’s as if no time has passed,” Brees said. “We got right back to work when he got here. We’re not making a big deal out of it. It’s business as usual.”
Odds and ends
• Brent Grimes predicted Don Jones’ game-changing fumble on special teams against the Falcons before it happened. The exchange was captured on Showtime’s Inside The NFL on Wednesday night.
• Receiver Mike Wallace, on Ryan Tannehill’s late-game confidence in the huddle: “You can look at a guy and just know that he’s ready. He’s not shook at all. He’s so composed that you’re like, ‘What’s wrong?’ ”
• Defensive tackle Marvin Austin has been with the team just a few days, but he’s “picking things up well,” Philbin said. “So far, so good.”
Philbin, on kicker Caleb Sturgis’ perfect start to his career: “I don’t know if we think we’ve got [three points] in the bank, but he’s obviously demonstrated a very good consistency level at this stage of the game. I’m glad we have him.”
• ESPN’s pregame show Monday night will feature Lisa Salter’s interview with Tannehill and Rick Reilly on Ricky Williams’ new career as a college coach.