Pasquarelli article on Levcik (merged)

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Pasquarelli article on Levcik

McNown's absence opens door for Levcik

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com


Chances are that, before the Miami Dolphins organized offseason workouts and mini-camps this spring, quarterback Cade McNown had never heard of Tim Levcik or of Robert Morris College.

The odds are pretty good, though, that after being traded Thursday for the second time in a year, McNown knows a little bit more about Levcik and the tiny Division I-AA school where he was a four-year starter.

In swapping McNown to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional seventh-round choice in the 2003 draft, the Dolphins put another dent in the aspirations of the onetime first-round choice. At the same time, Miami officials bolstered Levcik's dream of a possible NFL career, and significantly shortened the odds of him making the roster.

"You never take anything for granted," said Levcik, one of four quarterbacks remaining on the Miami depth chart. "For all I know, they could go out and sign some (veteran) free agent tomorrow, and the dynamics would change again."

Indeed, the Dolphins could add another veteran to a mix that includes starter Jay Fiedler, primary backup Ray Lucas, Levcik and fellow undrafted free agent Zak Kustok, a former starter at Northwestern. But given his solid performances this spring, the strong-armed Levcik has a viable opportunity to win the No. 3 spot. And if he does, it would be a story like something straight out of a fairy tale.

Robert Morris College is in Coraopolis, Pa., near the Pittsburgh airport. The tiny program has sent two players, former Oakland tailback Tim Hall and current Philadelphia center Hank Fraley, to the NFL. The school, with an enrollment of roughly 5,500, could soon boast of a third player in the professional ranks.

Certainly the Dolphins sent a message by trading McNown to the 49ers. Until Levcik and Kustok prove they can't handle the No. 3 job, they will continue to be the competitors for that spot. By all accounts, Levcik has been the better of the two youngsters.

"You can't ignore his size and arm strength," said the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner. "And he's done well with the mental stuff, too."

The Dolphins might have to swallow hard before allowing a player of so little experience, and from such a small program, to serve as their third quarterback. But precious few No. 3 quarterbacks ever got off the sideline during the 2001 season and Levcik just might be worth stashing on the roster to develop for the future.

Said Levcik: "Whatever it takes to stay, I'm willing to do it, believe me."

At 6-foot-6, Levcik has undeniable pocket presence. Unfortunately, he also has bad feet, and the ability to move around in the pocket is hardly his strong suit. But he has been firing lasers, and with solid accuracy, in workouts. More than a month before the opening of training camp, he is simply too compelling not to keep around.

Essentially, he is the anti-McNown, and that is a plus. McNown was chosen by Chicago with the 12th overall selection in the 1999 draft and hasn't come close to living up to his lofty first-round status. Levcik sat in front of his television for two days in April, heard the names of 15 other quarterbacks being announced, then signed with the Dolphins as a longshot undrafted free agent.

In four years at Robert Morris, he completed 537 of 970 passes for 7,222 yards, with 76 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions. He was a three-time all-Northeast Conference performer and earned conference most valuable player honors in his last two seasons. Levcik's mentor at Robert Morris was former New York Jets head coach Joe Walton. He played at Ford City (Pa.) High school, which also produced Gus Frerotte.

And even if Levcik needed convincing that the departure of McNown suddenly paved the way for him to advance his career, the faith of others around him was buoyed by events of Thursday evening.

"He's a smart kid who knows the game," said agent Joe Linta. "He has what it takes."

And now, with McNown's exit, he may have the kind of break it takes, too.
 

Dajesus

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Is everyone as excited as I am?

To see Tim Levcik in preseason? The phinz had enough faith in this kid to trade away a former 1st round pick to make room for him. How many undrafted rookie free agents can say that? I have never seen him throw a pass, but I wil be pulling for him bigtime come august.
 

inFINSible

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Maybe he can get Dan to teach him the little shuffle step.
 

iceblizzard69

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I liked McNown until this training camp. I think that Levcik can be a good player, I want to see him play against other teams in preseason ball first though, and he will probably get a lot of time.
 

dolfan87

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Miami is now back to having no drafted QB's on the roster.
 

dolphan39

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Originally posted by dolfan87
Miami is now back to having no drafted QB's on the roster.
:eek: and having a RB that was the whole draft :D
 

MDFINFAN

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Curt Warner wasn't drafted either..and Hummmm,
But Heath Shula, McCade, Leaf, Cinn's Aikin, and Hupel were all drafted--from schools where they were the "MAN"
 
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IceStorm

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Lets also not forget what round Zach was drafted in. Remember now, he's to small to play MLB. bwahahahaha
 

burghPhinFan

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maybe the next great QB from western PA? Consider the following for you folks down south:
Dan Marino
Joe Montana
Joe Namath
Jim Kelley

honorable mentions:
Gus Ferrotte
Scott Zolak
 

Muck

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Any guy knocks himself out of a game by head-butting a concrete wall after scoring a TD deserves some kind of "Honorable Mention". :lol:
 

Miamian

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Levcik is too intriguing to ignore come preseason. But, let's not judge him too harshly at that time, considering that he'll have the 3rd string OL in front of him, who knows which string DL from the other team, and throwing to WR's who may not be on the team later.
 
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