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News » Looking out for No. 1?

Looking out for No. 1?

Looking out for No. 1?
ALLEN PARK -- Daunte Culpepper looked sharp during the Detroit Lions' first minicamp practice Friday, and the veteran quarterback said he will continue to focus on getting better every day.

On one of those days -- next Saturday, to be precise -- the Lions could decide to select Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall draft pick. Culpepper said the team's decision will not affect his focus.

"My mind-set is that it has nothing to do with me. I have no say in it and there's nothing I can do about it," Culpepper said after Friday's workout. "Whatever they choose to do, that's fine with me. My thing is to do what I'm doing now, get myself in the best shape I can, physically and mentally, and be the best player I can be."

Culpepper had gone into self-imposed retirement last season, turning down offers from several teams to be a backup. Culpepper changed his mind at mid-season when the Lions wanted to sign him. Initially, Culpepper was going to be a backup, but starter Dan Orlovsky broke his thumb the day after Culpepper was signed and Culpepper started the next week.

Because he had not expected to play, Culpepper's weight ballooned to 292 pounds and it affected his performance. He started five games, completing 52 percent of his passes, throwing four touchdown and six interceptions, and he had a passer efficiency rating of 63.9.

Culpepper, though, said he is down to about 260 pounds and was moving well in the pocket Friday.

"I've been very pleased," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "We've got a long way to go. His commitment has shown."

Backup quarterbacks Drew Stanton and Drew Henson did not look nearly as sharp as Culpepper.

"They've thrown the ball well (during the off-season)," Schwartz said. "We're going to take a real hard look at this tape. The other stuff has been more controlled, throwing routes on air. Today, all of a sudden, it was against defense, and it hit them a thousand miles an hour. That's something we'll look real hard at. What I'm going to try to do is not place too much of an emphasis on the very first practice. Let's go these four (minicamp) practices, let's go two OTA days next week and let's get that feel and get that whole body of work rather than reading too much into the first day."

Regardless of what the Lions do in the draft, Culpepper said he is excited about reuniting with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who also was Culpepper's coordinator in 2004 -- the last year Culpepper was totally healthy. That year, Culpepper threw for 4,717 yards, 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and had a rating of 110.9.

Culpepper suffered a significant knee injury the following year and has yet to play a full season.

"Being with somebody you've been around, it's like -- to me -- it's like my planets are getting aligned. I think we can do some great things," Culpepper said of Linehan. "I almost feel like -- even though I know him -- I can't relax or anything."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 21, 2009

Alan Ricard Name: Alan Ricard
Position: RB
Age: 31
Experience: 6 years
College: Louisiana-Monroe
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