Dolphins fans weren’t the only ones sure Brady Quinn was headed to Miami in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Brady Quinn thought so, too.
“I had heard word from a very, very good source that something was going to happen [with the Dolphins] the next day,” Quinn said of the conversations he had on the eve of the ’07 draft. “We had heard a lot of things before the draft. You never really know what to believe or who to believe, so obviously that didn’t take place. It’s just a story now.”
The story got a little stranger Tuesday, when Quinn formally returned from a short retirement and signed with the Dolphins. Seven years after the Dolphins passed over Quinn — taking instead wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., to the shock (and dismay) of many — he isn’t seen as a potential franchise-saver.
He’s simply trying to find a place on the team.
“It’s kind of crazy to think almost eight years later now, I finally made it here,” Quinn said.
His long-delayed first day in a Dolphins uniform was uneven. Quinn badly underthrew a deep ball that was intercepted by Will Davis before delivering a couple of darts.
He has been brought in, presumably, to push top backup Matt Moore — who missed much of the past week, including the preseason opener, with shoulder soreness. But Quinn appears to be a long shot for the No. 2 job, so his best hope of making the roster is by doing enough to convince the Dolphins to keep three quarterbacks.
“Everything on the team is wide open right now,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We are going to go play a game in a couple of days, and we are going to take a look at that. I would hope that maybe after this week we can settle in a little bit as we head to [the] Dallas [game], but, again, we are going to use this preseason to get the right guys on the field at the right time based on the situation. ... I’m not really concerned about who is No. 2 at this particular point.”
Based solely on their body of work, Moore should be a shoo-in for that job. Moore is still just three years removed from being the Dolphins’ MVP. He won them a game in an emergency appearance in 2012.
Quinn, meanwhile, has thrown two total touchdown passes in the past four seasons and is now on his fifth NFL roster since the start of the 2012 season.
Yet Moore didn’t sound like a player sure of anything Tuesday. Moore said Dolphins coaches haven’t yet told him his role on this team, even though he’s due $4 million in salary with a $5.5 million cap figure.
“I’ve been through this too many times, it’s nothing,” Moore said. “What do you want me to do? They’re going to do what they think they need to do. All I can do is keep going. It really has no effect. If it does, I’m in trouble. Mentally, I just have to stay focused and continue to get better.”
Moore does expect to play in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Buccaneers.
As for Quinn, the offer from the Dolphins was plenty good enough to lure him away from Fox Sports, where he had been hired as a football analyst. The fit in Miami is a natural one; he has worked out down here for years, and lives in Fort Lauderdale with wife Alicia Sacramone, a former Olympic gymnast.
It’s an older, wiser Quinn than the player from seven years ago, when he was the second quarterback selected in the entire draft. The Dolphins needed one desperately but passed. He ended up in Cleveland but flopped and has been on an odyssey throughout pro football ever since.
Still, there are many who remember Quinn as the golden boy in the golden dome, leading Notre Dame to the Sugar Bowl as a senior and finishing in the top four in Heisman voting twice.
He’s only 29, but has been famous for so long, some of the Dolphins’ younger players were starstruck when they met him.
“I feel a little bit old,” Quinn said. “One guy, when I met him [Monday], said something along those lines and I was kind of taken aback by it. It’s kind of weird being the older guy around here, especially in the quarterback room. Matt and I are the older guys.”
The Dolphins were the only team to offer Quinn a contract, but he did have some other nibbles. He worked out for a couple of other teams.
On the field, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense isn’t completely foreign, Quinn said; he has run variations of it in the past. But Quinn needs to do more than learn the verbiage and route combinations to make this team.
He needs to show that he’s a viable option to play, if called upon.
“I’ve always hoped for an opportunity to play at a high level,” Quinn said. “Anytime there’s an opportunity to come out and compete and be part of the team, it’s an unbelievable experience.”
Quinn vs. Ginn
The Dolphins bypassed QB Brady Quinn in the 2007 draft and selected WR Ted Ginn Jr. A look at both players’ NFL careers:
• Quinn: 24 games, 20 starts, 296 of 550 (53.8 pct.), 3,043 yards, 12 TDs, 17 INT, 64.4 QB rating.
• Ginn: 104 games, 40 starts, 197 rec., 2,604 yards, 11 rec. TD; 11.2 avg. on punt returns (3 TDs), 23.3 avg. on kickoff returns (3 TDs.)