Originally created 09/13/99

Griese begins, and Marino keeps on going



DENVER -- In a game in which Broncos quarterback Brian Griese will make first NFL start, Dan Marino will make his 230th.

The Miami quarterback remembers his first start and understands the obstacles facing Griese -- even though Marino, unlike most young quarterbacks, never seemed to experience any growing pains.

In his rookie year in 1983, he started against Buffalo in the sixth game of the season.

"Joe Ferguson was the quarterback of the Bills and we lost in overtime," Marino recalled. "I had a pretty good day, actually."

He completed 19 of 29 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. From that point, there was no dislodging him from the lineup.

Marino, the NFL leader in passing yardage (58,913) and touchdown passes (408), begins his 17th season Monday night at Mile High Stadium against the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Broncos.

The only gap in his resume is the absence of a Super Bowl title, something his counterpart, John Elway, didn't achieve until his final two seasons.

"I feel I have accomplished pretty much everything any quarterback could accomplish individually," he said. "I've been very consistent for a long period of time and have had a great career.

"Obviously, I want to know what it feels like to win a Super Bowl. I don't know if there will be a huge hole in my career because you have to be with the right team and have chances to win it. Hopefully, I will have that opportunity."

Marino, who turns 38 on Wednesday, has given no serious thought to retiring, as Elway did last spring.

"At this stage of my career, you have to take it one year at a time and see how your body feels, see what kind of team you have, whether you have a chance to win or not, what your family situation is," he said. "But right now, I haven't really thought much about retiring. The season is just getting started, and I'm really looking forward to it."

The Dolphins, he said, "have a chance to be a much better team than we've had the last couple of years."

On Monday night, he faces a 24-year-old quarterback in his second year in the league.

"No, I don't feel old at all going against younger guys," Griese said. "In fact, it makes me feel a lot younger, especially in the locker room. We all have one thing in common; we all play football."

Griese is the son of Miami's other great quarterback, Hall of Famer Bob Griese, but that doesn't mean Marino has offered any advice. He does, however, know some of the pitfalls that a young quarterback must face.

"I think this is probably the hardest job in professional sports, team sports anyway," Marino said. "The more experience you get, the better you are. The way defenses are changing, it's a lot more complicated to play this position than it was 15 years ago. With all the things going on, it's very tough for a young guy.

"But Brian is not a rookie. He's been there a year. He's been able to watch John, a guy he could learn a lot from. And he has an excellent coach. I'm sure he will be well prepared and do a good job for them."

Marino will be in the locker room at halftime Monday night when Elway, a longtime friend, has his jersey retired and is inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame.

"Obviously, I won't be around when it happens," he said. "But I respect John immensely. He's a friend and he deserves everything they do for him."