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Report: Marino To Retire

Dan Marino will pass on another season and announce his retirement Monday, according to TV and published reports.

The Miami Herald, CNN-SI and two Miami television stations reported that Marino, 38, has decided to reject an offer to play for the Minnesota Vikings. The Herald quoted two sources close to Marino as saying he told friends Thursday night he'll retire after 17 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins and Marino's agent, Marvin Demoff, said they were unaware that the quarterback had made a decision.

"This is Dan's arena," Dolphins president Eddie Jones said today. "Dan's going to say what Dan's going to say."

Minnesota coach Dennis Green, in Tampa for a meeting of the NFL competition committee, didn't return phone messages left at his hotel room. The Vikings wanted Marino to replace Jeff George as their starting quarterback.

Marino, who attended a Bruce Springsteen concert Thursday night with Dolphins quarterback Damon Huard, hasn't spoken publicly in nearly three weeks.

Marino is the most prolific passer in NFL history and perhaps the best quarterback never to win a Super Bowl. He apparently decided against remaining with the Dolphins after concluding new coach Dave Wannstedt didn't want him back.

Health was likely a factor as Marino weighed retirement. He was plagued by knee trouble for much of his career and missed five games last season because of a neck injury.

Marino and Jimmy Johnson clashed frequently during the Dolphins' disappointing 1999 season, and the coach publicly criticized the quarterback for poor decisions and costly turnovers.

Their final bid to win a Super Bowl together ended with a 62-7 playoff loss at Jacksonville, the most lopsided defeat in franchise history. Johnson retired the next day.

Marino voided his contract in February and became a free agent. When the Dolphins signed free agent quarterback Jay Fiedler to a three-year, $3.8 million contract, it was apparent Marino had likely played his last game in Miami.

Friends said Marino was angry about the way the Dolphins treated him in recent weeks, but he declined to complain publicly.

"I've been a Dolphin for 17 years, and I'll be a Dolphin for the rest of my life," he said in February. "That will never change."

Marino holds NFL career records with 4,967 completions for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns.

"Dan Marino will go down as the greatest player in the history of the game," former NFL coach Mike Ditka once said.

In 1984, his second season, Marino threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, league records that still stand. But that season ended in disappointment as Miami lost to San Francisco 38-16 in the Super Bowl. Marino spent the next 15 years trying unsuccessfully to return to the title game.

Injuries took a toll in recent seasons, and Marino's play declined sharply in 1999. He threw 12 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions, by far the worst ratio of his career, and his quarterback rating of 67.4 ranked 30th in the league.

The neck injury hindered Marino's arm strength after he returned. He won only two games after Oct. 10, and the Dolphins lost five of seven games after he rejoined the lineup.

Last year, Marino was the last active member of the quarterback class of 1983, which also included John Elway, Jim Kelly, Ken O'Brien, Todd Blackledge and Tony Eason. All were drafted before Miami coach Don Shula took Marino with the 27th pick in the first round.

©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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