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Dan Marino wants the record to show he did not "demand" to be traded from the Miami Dolphins.

The subject of his being dealt did arise during a conversation earlier this year with Dolphins owner Tim Robbie.

"But I never demanded to be traded," Marino said during an appearance Wednesday at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Football Camp at St. Bonaventure University. "I sat down with Tim and we talked about all the possibilities and where the team was headed. I told him that I want to win the Super Bowl before I'm done playing, and that it would be great if it could be with Miami, but if it isn't, I'd like to go somewhere else and try.

"That didn't mean I came out and said, 'I want to be traded.' But that's how it came out in all the newspapers."

The conversation was part of the opening dialogue between Marino and Robbie regarding a new contract for the author of numerous NFL passing records.

Marino is entering the fifth year of a six-year agreement he signed in 1986. At $1.5 million annually, he earns considerably less than Buffalo's Kelly ($3 million), Philadelphia's Randall Cunningham ($2.6 million), Cleveland's Bernie Kosar ($2.3 million), Denver's John Elway ($2.1 million), Houston's Warren Moon ($2 million) and Dallas' Troy Aikman ($1.8 million).

San Francisco's Joe Montana soon is expected to have his $1.99 million salary boosted to more than $3 million.

"If other players are making that kind of money, I think it's only right that I should, too," Marino said. "But you can't force someone to do that for you. You just have to wait and see.

"I've talked to Tim a couple of times, and he's talked to Marvin Demoff (Marino's agent). They want to sit down and maybe do something, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen.

"I told Tim I'd like to try to do it privately and not make a big deal about it. If things don't work out, then I would play the year out and see what happens after this year."

How do the Dolphins shape up for 1990?

Marino sees them challenging the Bills for the AFC Eastern Division championship.

"I think it's a fairly bright future for us, because we should have been in the playoffs last year," he said. "We pretty much gave Buffalo the division at the end. We only had to win two of our last five games, and we'd have been in the playoffs. But we went 1-5, and that hurt us.

"I think it will be a very tight race this year. I feel we have as good a shot as Buffalo does. The key for us is going to be to get off to a good start, because we don't have a whole lot of depth. So if some people get injured, having that little leg up early will maybe help us down toward the end of the season.

"We have potential, we have a lot of young guys. Our defense started playing a lot better last year. In critical situations, they were able to come up with a lot of plays to help us win ballgames or keep us in games."

As far as Marino is concerned, the Dolphins need to make their largest strides on offense. He wants to see a vast improvement in their running game.

They took a significant step in that direction in 1989 by making former Florida State star Sammie Smith their top draft pick.

Smith had a decent rookie season, rushing for 659 yards, but Marino doesn't think he'll be more productive unless the Dolphins beef up their run-blocking.

"We haven't been able to run the ball the last few years, and I think the key is the offensive line. We're going to have to get movement on the offensive line," Marino said. "We have to be able to run it well enough to control ballgames, instead of running it just to run. We have to get more physical up front.

"We're going to need some help offensively, because a lot of guys -- myself, (wide receivers Mark) Clayton and Duper -- are starting to get a little older. So you can't rely on us as much as you have in the past. We need to get some other guys working."

Marino has experienced a steady decline in his quarterback rating since '86, when it stood at 92.5. It fell to 89.2 in 1987, 80.8 in 1988 and 76.9 last year.

"Actually, the last couple of years, I feel I've played better football than I have in years when I've thrown 40 touchdowns," Marino said. "I've done a lot more things, as far as changing plays on the line, learning about the running game, that kind of thing.

"The thing that hurt me last year and the last five years is throwing the interceptions (he threw an AFC-high 22 in '89). You get into a game and you're losing, so you try to make things happen. Sometimes, you'll take a chance that you shouldn't take.

"But I feel good. If I stay healthy, I feel I can play a long time. I have a lot of years left."

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