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Green next up in the Dolphins' quest to find a Marino-type star

MIAMI (AP) -On the day Dan Marino retired seven years ago, Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga stood before a packed room and offered his team's longtime quarterback a touching tribute.

"To put it simply, Danny, nobody did it better than you," Huizenga said.

And no one wearing the Dolphins' colors has come close since, either.

There's been a veritable revolving door at Miami's quarterback spot since Marino's retirement on March 13, 2000, with 10 players getting the opportunity to start over that span. Of those, only one - Jay Fiedler - won more than nine games for the Dolphins, who've been to the playoffs just once since Marino called it a career.

Now, it's Trent Green's turn.

With training camp opening, the newly acquired Green will be poised to become Miami's 11th starter in the post-Marino era. Green is an accomplished and proven NFL quarterback, with Pro Bowl appearances and 4,000-yard seasons dotting his resume, yet he's already aware that anything he does with the Dolphins will be compared to what a certain Hall of Famer did during his 17 seasons in South Florida.

"There aren't many people that can say they're even close to that level," Green said. "As a player, his numbers speak for themselves. So I'm just going to try and be myself and try and lead the best way I know how and be a part of a winning football team, and not trying to fill anybody's shoes, and trying to be Dan Marino, or be anybody else for that matter."

That's a pratfall not every Miami quarterback since 2000 has been able to avoid.

Daunte Culpepper said he welcomed the challenge, especially because the Florida native said he grew up with Marino as one of his idols. But Culpepper played in only four games last season for the Dolphins because of knee problems and was released this month by Miami, which deemed him expendable after acquiring Green through a trade with Kansas City.

"To be honest I felt very comfortable stepping into Dan Marino's shoes," said Culpepper, who broke Marino's record for total single-season yards by a quarterback in 2004. "I had already compared myself to him and felt confident that with the right opportunity I would soon be seen as the guy to finally stop the revolving quarterback door in Miami. ... I expected to be the guy that future quarterbacks would be compared to rather than being compared to Dan."

Fiedler, Sage Rosenfels and Brian Griese are among those in recent years who've acknowledged feeling at least some pressure from both fans and media to meet the expectations created by Marino's prolific numbers. If any Dolphins quarterback needs a reminder, he need only look at the facade of the second deck at the team's stadium, where Marino's final stats - 420 touchdowns, 4,967 completions, 8,358 attempts, 61,361 yards - are immortalized in the team's honor roll, in plain view of anyone looking toward the east end zone.

Perhaps more than anyone else on the post-Marino list, A.J. Feeley had no chance of avoiding the pressure.

When the Dolphins got Feeley from Philadelphia in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2004, Huizenga said he hoped the team just landed "another Dan Marino."

Not quite.

Feeley went 3-5 as a starter with the Dolphins. He's now back with the Eagles.

None of the other Miami starters since 2000 - Damon Huard, Ray Lucas, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington and Cleo Lemon - has evoked any comparisons to Marino, either. Lemon is the only starter since 2000 still on the Miami roster; his lone start came in last season's finale against Indianapolis, and he'll almost certainly enter this year behind Green as a backup.

Green threw for 21,459 yards and 118 touchdowns in 5 1/2 seasons as Kansas City's starter. He missed eight games last season because of a concussion suffered in the season opener, and has fully recovered; he can't remember about a 25-minute window around the hit, but says he's experiencing no other problems.

"It's nice to have someone here that understands what this business is about," new Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said about Green. "He's a hard worker. He understands what competition is about. He knows how to win in this league."

That alone sets him apart from most of the post-Marino starters. Most of them had relatively little experience as starters before being asked to take control of Miami's offense.

"I'm just going to prepare as hard as I can, play as hard as I can and hopefully that comes across to the fans and comes across to my teammates and people realize that that's what I'm about," Green said. "I'm just about trying to help this team win and find a way to get in the end zone, score points and, like I said, win football games."

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