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Thread: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

  1. #1
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    AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER
    Posted by Mike Florio on August 29, 2008, 1:12 p.m. EDT
    http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/08/ ... culpepper/

    [Editor’s note: We’ve recently posted several items about the current status of former Vikings, Dolphins, and Raiders quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who remains without a team as the 2008 regular season approaches. In an item for SportingNews.com, we argued that Culpepper needs to hire an agent, and we also have suggested that he possibly is being blackballed by the league. A member of the media pointed out to Culpepper one of our stories, and it prompted Culpepper to contact us about his situation. We offered to give him the space to make his case to the NFL’s 32 teams, and to the millions (OK, thousands) pro football fans who regularly visit this site. His letter appears below, unedited and unabridged.]

    A letter to the NFL community:

    Now that we are on the eve of teams selecting their 53 man rosters, I feel compelled to give my account of what I believe is a misunderstanding of who I am and what I have been trying to accomplish during this free agency period. It is my hope that I can provide some clarity by sharing what I am thinking straight from me and not through the interpretation of the media, or second hand information. That is why I am grateful to Mike Florio for giving me this platform to speak to the NFL community through the vehicle of profootballtalk.com.

    First of all I want to explain why I have decided to exercise my right under the CBA to represent myself rather than hire an agent. This decision has more to do with my desire to handle my business affairs personally, than anything negative about agents. After the 2004 season I took a crash course in understanding my 10 year 102 million contract line by line. What I learned was that I had a long term deal with no guarantees for the remaining eight years. After my injury in 2005, the contract became an important issue that had to be dealt with. It took a trade to Miami and nearly 18 months to get out from under that contract.

    My approach now is that I am looking for a relationship with a team that is based on mutual respect. I am willing to put on my suit when it comes to business and exchange it for an NFL uniform when it is time to play the game. I am not suggesting that this is the right approach for every player. I am only saying that it is what works best for me at this point in my career. I would only hope that teams would not keep me from working because of my approach to the business side of the game.

    Secondly, I want to clear up the misinformation regarding my desire to only be a starter. I would think that every QB in this league wants to start. However, contrary to popular belief, I know how to play my role. I set out this free agency period with three categories that I wanted to explore.

    1. Teams that were looking for a starter

    2. Teams that were open for QB competition

    3. Teams that needed a veteran back-up

    With the help of the NFLPA, I researched what the market value was for each category. I contacted 14 teams that fell into these categories. Unfortunately, I did not receive any real interest from the teams I contacted. When the Packers finally offered for me to come to Green Bay to back-up Aaron Rodgers there were no real negotiations. They offered me a deal that was, according to my research, below market value. They said that they would get back to me after the draft.

    When the beginning of training camp came and there was still no interest, I reached out to Commissioner Goodell to see if he had any suggestions. He asked Ray Anderson to check around the league and get back to me. Ray told me three things based on his discussions with teams. First of all he said that I should get an agent because teams were not comfortable dealing with me without one. The second thing he told me was that I should be ready to accept the vet minimum and start my career over. The third thing he said was that I would only have an opportunity if someone got hurt. This is why I went to Pittsburgh to work out for the team after Charlie got hurt, so I could see if what Ray Anderson said was true. After a great workout, I was offered the vet minimum with no negotiations. This is when I realized that there is something wrong.

    For the sake of clarity, I never told anyone in Pittsburgh that I wanted to compete with Ben Rothlisberger for his job. This is an example of misrepresentation or misinformation.


    Recently the Commissioner called to let me know that I was on the top of the list for a job if a key veteran got hurt. I really appreciate the Commissioner’s help, but I hate that I have to wait for a fellow QB to experience the misfortune of an injury in order for me to have an opportunity to continue my career. Why was I not given the chance to compete for a job? This is my question to the NFL. The answer seems to point to something that I choose not to embrace at this time. So instead, I will continue to believe for the best and prepare for the worst.

    In the meantime my request is simply that teams give me the respect of talking directly to me rather than trying to interpret what I think or desire. I can handle the truth if they can handle my presence in discussions. I hope that my body of work in the league will earn me at least a conversation.

    Daunte Culpepper

    Molon labe

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  2. #2
    LasVegasGuy
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    Re: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    He sucks so the league isn't losing much in Daunte Culpepper.

    Here some advice Daunte 10% of nothing equals nothing. Get yourself an agent, pay him his 10% and let him see if anyone in the league needs a washed up "Moss-less" quarterback.

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    Hall of Famer Iron Shiek's Avatar
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    Re: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    Just heard on Colin Cowherd show on ESPN radio that Daunte retired! Ha.
    http://i371.photobucket.com/albums/oo156/shiek2134/SHIEK.jpg?t=1299014285

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    Re: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Shiek
    Just heard on Colin Cowherd show on ESPN radio that Daunte retired! Ha.
    Here is Daunte's statement:

    In His Own Words:
    Daunte Culpepper On Retirement
    Former Vikings, Dolphins and Raiders quarterback Daunte Culpepper announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday. He issued the following statement:
    When free agency began this year, I had a new sense of excitement about continuing to rebuild my career in the same way that I had rebuilt my knee after my catastrophic injury in 2005. Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an unrestricted free agent that I expected. In fact, there was an overwhelming sense that there was no room for me among this year's group of quarterbacks; whether in a starting, competing or a back-up role. No matter what I did or said, there seemed to be a unified message from teams that I was not welcome to compete for one of the many jobs that were available at the quarterback position. It seems that the stance I took in both Minnesota and Miami regarding my rights as a person and player has followed me into free agency.

    After taking a long look at my career and my personal convictions, I have decided to begin early retirement from the NFL effective immediately. Since the beginning of training camp I was told that my opportunity would come when a quarterback gets hurt. I cannot remember the last time so many QB's have been injured during the preseason. I have been strongly encouraged from family, friends and league personnel to continue to be patient and wait for an inevitable injury to one of the starting quarterbacks in the league. I would rather shut the door to such "opportunity" than continue to wait for one of my fellow quarterbacks to suffer a serious injury. Since I was not given a fair chance to come in and compete for a job, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life.

    The decision I made in 2006 to represent myself rather than hire an agent has been an invaluable experience. I now understand why so many people within the NFL community are uncomfortable with a player really learning the business. The NFL has become more about power, money and control than passion, competition and the love of the game. Regardless of this shift, player's rights are still supposed to be a part of this league. Since I will not be given the opportunity to honor the memory of Gene Upshaw by wearing a patch on my uniform this year, I will instead spend some of my energy applying what he taught me about standing up for what is right and not sitting down for what is clearly wrong.

    I want to thank my family and my fans for their unwavering belief in me as a person and a player. I embraced both the peaks and the valleys of the game and my career. I am a better person today as a direct result of the experience of playing in the NFL. I can now focus on the enjoyment of watching some of the greatest athletes in the world play the game I love without the distraction of waiting for those elusive return phone calls.

    Thankfully,
    Daunte Culpepper
    And here is what John Clayton wrote about it:

    Daunte Culpepper, unable to land a starting or backup job this offseason, announced his retirement at the age of 31.


    Culpepper had one-year offers from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason for backup jobs, but didn't find those offers suitable. Though his surgically reconstructed knee was healthy and his arm still strong during visits to those teams, Culpepper decided to end his career.


    "After taking a long look at my career and my personal convictions, I have decided to begin early retirement from the NFL effective immediately,'' Culpepper said in an e-mail.

    "Since the beginning of training camp, I was told my opportunity would come when a quarterback gets hurt. I cannot remember the last time so many quarterbacks have been injured during the preseason," Culpepper said. " I have been strongly encouraged from family, friends and league personnel to continue to be patient and wait for an inevitable injury to one of the starting quarterbacks in the league.

    "I would rather shut the door to such 'opportunity' than continue to wait for one of my fellow quarterbacks to suffer a serious injury. Since I was not given a fair chance to come in and compete for a job, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life."

    The 11th pick in the 1999 draft, Culpepper played nine seasons for three teams -- the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. His best days were in Minnesota where he established himself as one of the league's top quarterbacks.


    During his career, Culpepper completed 1,867 of 2,927 passes for 22,422 yards and 142 touchdowns. His career quarterback rating was a lofty 89.9. His best season was in 2004 when he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns for the Vikings.

    But he blew out his knee the next season, and his career wasn't the same afterwards.

    Culpepper signed a one-year deal with the Raiders last season but didn't land another job.

    "When free agency began this year, I had a new sense of excitement about continuing to rebuild my career in the same way that I had rebuilt my knee after my catastrophic injury in 2005,'' Culpepper said Thursday. "Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an unrestricted free agent that I expected. In fact, there was an overwhelming sense that there was no room for me among this year's group of quarterbacks, whether in a starting, competing or a backup role.

    "No matter what I did or said, there seemed to be a unified message from teams that I was not welcome to compete for one of the many jobs that were available at the quarterback position. It seems that the stance I took in both Minnesota and Miami regarding my rights as a person and player has followed me into free agency.''

    Culpepper is one of the few players who hasn't had an agent. He represents himself.

    "The decision I made in 2006 to represent myself rather than hire an agent has been an invaluable experience,'' Culpepper said. "I now understand why so many people with the NFL community are uncomfortable with a player really learning the business. The NFL has become more about power, money and control than passion, competition and the love of the game. Regardless of this shift, players' rights are still supposed to be part of this league. Since I will not be given the opportunity to honor the memory of Gene Upshaw by wearing a patch on my uniform this year, I will instead spend some of my energy applying what he taught me about standing up for what is right and not sitting down for what is clearly wrong.''

    John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

  5. #5
    Hall of Famer Iron Shiek's Avatar
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    Re: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    There really has to be something to that "blackballing". I know he isn't an elite quarterback...especially since Moss left his side, but he had some ability. The Dolphins sucked but I recall him coming in and winning a game in comeback fashion and had some good games with the Raiders as well. I think the right situation just never presented itself for him and to some degree it really looks like people are shying away for a specific reason. But this is his version, he very well may be asking for too much money.
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    Re: AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER

    The career paths of Culpepper and Leftwich are eerily similar. Both guys were early 1st round picks that lead those teams to success as a starter, appearing to be the franchise QB's they were looking for, but were then injured and moved on to new, weaker teams to be the starter instead of being the backup on their original teams. Leftwich flamed out with the sorry Falcons just like Culpepper flamed out with the sorry Dolphins and sorry Raiders. Both were brought in for a tryout with a better team in a back-up role for a veteran minimum salary. Only Byron was willing to suck up his pride and take less money to be a backup for a contender; Daunte refused to do that. That is why Byron will be suiting up this weekend with a new lease on his career, while Daunte just retired in frustration.

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