John Beck estimates he's thrown 8,000 passes since the Miami Dolphins new regime took over, deploying his reputation as a gym rat to dive into the challenge of becoming the starting quarterback.
But now, Beck says, it is time to take a rest. He's thrown enough balls.
As part of his break, Beck will spend family time vacationing in Utah, playing a lot of golf, doing some fishing and he'll join former teammate Cameron Jensen in hosting a youth football camp in mid-July at Provo High School.
Both Beck and Jensen were team captains given key leadership roles in Bronco Mendenhall's first Mountain West Conference championship team of 2006, a squad that finished 11-2 with a win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. Jensen recently retired from football after a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks.
This spring and summer, Beck is locked in battle with veteran Josh McCown and rookie Chad Henne for the starting job. During camp, Beck took the first reps with the No. 1 offense but rotated that duty with McCown during every practice.
While the Dolphins return to training camp the third week of July, players have been given a lifting and running regime to keep.
"It's a new offense, a new coaching staff, a new everything and there is a lot of learning going on," said Beck after returning from a golf tournament in California where he and other NFL quarterbacks participated in a charity event organized by Carson Palmer. Beck was in Utah to play in a golf tournament to benefit American Indians hosted by Steve Young.
"I think I've made big strides," said Beck of his preparation and conditioning, "but now that camp is over, I can see where I need to improve."
Back in Miami, the Dolphins have essentially recycled old offensive players out and brought in a new crew surrounding the quarterback spot, which remains the biggest issue on the table for the 1-15 club. Miami drafted Michigan OL Jake Long No. 1 and signed him for $57.75 million. It made Long the highest paid offensive lineman in the league.
McCown, who had mixed results in 31 career starts with Arizona and Oakland, is seen as a safety net for the Dolphins. Bill Parcells will likely make the QB job Beck's to lose. Henne led Michigan to nine comeback victories during his college career, but was 0-4 against rival Ohio State. If Beck or McCown don't answer the challenge, Henne is viewed by some Dolphin insiders to be the long-term answer at quarterback.
So far, nobody at Miami has thrown Beck a bone about where he stands offensive coaches have been more focused on providing feedback to all quarterbacks on how they want things done, what needs to be tweaked and emphasized.
"The focus has been on us and how we can change this and that around," Beck said.
A year ago, Beck reported to camp at 216 pounds but during the course of training camp and the season, he dropped to 206. "I've gained 11 of those pounds back," he said.
"I've been working hard ever since the season ended last January," he said.
One report says Beck threw just one interception in 21 practice sessions this spring.
Beck said the Apex Next Level Football Camp he and Jensen will host July 14-15 is based on their own personal experience of finding out key information at each level in their football careers and they want to share.
The camp will be for athletes in grades three through 12.
"As Cameron and I have moved up in each level of football, we gained and became aware of certain things that became very advantageous. We got together and said, 'boy, we wished we'd known that back when.' If we knew this in high school, we'd have been more successful. We've been able to see all levels of football, from little league to high school, to college and now the NFL and we felt we could help other guys learn so when they progress to each new level, they'll have some tips from guys who have been through it.
"That's why it is called the Next Level Football Camp."
Jensen said he's been called and asked to come back to Seattle, but it was his decision to quit the NFL and start a career in business. "I enjoyed it, but it wasn't for me," he said.
The camp with Beck is one of many things on Jensen's plate right now. "We wanted to teach kids what they can expect from football and how important it is to be self-determined and what it was like to be in their shoes," Jensen said.Beck and Jensen have involved members of their 2006 title team in the camp, including Bryan Kehl, Johnny Harline, Sete Aulai, Kayle Buchanan and Nate Meikle. Further information about dates and registration can be found at www.Apxfootballcamp.com