It is rare when a star free agent signs a $43 million contract with $22 million guaranteed, is asked to come to his new team and assume a leadership position, and that player is somehow overshadowed much of the offseason.
And yet that is what has happened with Karlos Dansby.
He was the big offseason acquisition ... until the Dolphins acquired Brandon Marshall.
Unlike Marshall, Dansby didn't get a press conference -- either one approved by the Dolphins or simply attended by Dolphins staffers offsite at a hotel the team uses to house players during training camp.
Unlike Marshall, there was no grand fascination with what his number would be.
Wednesday's OTA day was supposed to be the day Dansby got the attention because it would be his first official press conference with the South Florida media and his debut as the leader of the Miami defense. But the attention was still on a million other things:
Marshall's other hip.
Jason Ferguson's excuse for a positive performance enhancing drug test.
Ronnie Brown's health.
The rest of the team's lack of health.
Chris Clemons as the first-team safety.
The outside linebackers.
Can we give Karlos Dansby his moment, please?
We found out Dansby is playing the Moe exclusively while Channing Crowder is expected to continue at the Mike. Tim Dobbins, acquired from the San Diego Chargers on draft day, will likely be asked to learn both but he's playing primarily the Mike right now with Crowder still rehabilitating his lisfranc surgery.
"It’s a lot different, a lot different," Dansby said comparing the system he played in Arizona and the one defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has installed in Miami. "A lot of different responsibilities...I’m looking forward to it. They want me to be a leader. You got to do that by actions. You can’t do that by words. I am out there right now trying to prove myself.
"You got to earn that. That’s everywhere you go. You got a responsibility, I’m just trying to do my job and put my best foot forward.
"We are having a good time. I’m meshing well. You know, all the guys, we’re taking to each other. We are doing a lot of stuff off the field and on the field, so I’d say we’re meshing real well right now."
Dansby has been upstaged by Marshall but he nonetheless carries the weight of improving the run defense that ranked No. 18 last season.
"I wouldn’t call it a weight," he said. "I’d just call it an opportunity to be great, and that’s what I’m trying to be right now. I’m taking all major steps to try to be great."
Dansby is still feeling his way around. That's perhaps one reason he is not certain he's going to be on the field all three downs. (It would be a shock if he's not because he's getting paid like a three-down linebacker.) But that assurance must wait. If it comes, Dansby may get the opportunity to call the defensive plays.
“I’m not sure yet," he said. "We still have changes to do. If I’m an every down backer, I might have the opportunity to call the calls. If not, it really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m on the field."
Regardless of whether he's calling plays or not, Dansby must somehow earn a spot as one of this new defense's leaders in 2010. It is on him because the young unit doesn't really have many veterans more accomplished than him.
But Dansby seems to know what is required to lead.
"It’s being disciplined," he said. "Being disciplined, taking care of your body and going on the field, being in front of the guys, and like I said, and making all the plays that we’re supposed to make, and that’s how you become a leader."