DAVIE, Fla. -- On his first day with the Miami Dolphins, Jason Allen picked up two nicknames. Some teammates called him "fresh legs," others dubbed him "new money."
Both seemed fitting.
After a holdout spared him from the rigors of the first 10 days of training camp, and with between $8 million and $9 million guaranteed by his newly signed six-year contract, Allen joined the Dolphins on Tuesday -- eager to begin competing for a starting safety job.
"Sitting home, knowing that the guys were practicing and knowing that I wanted to be here practicing was probably the most frustrating thing," Allen said. "In the end, everybody had signed and it was just me and Matt Leinart sitting, waiting. ... I had to understand it was business, nothing personal."
Allen, who was selected 16th overall, and the Dolphins agreed late Monday to the deal that became finalized early Tuesday, in time for first of the day's two practices. With Allen now in camp, only Leinart -- the former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at USC who was 10th overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals -- remains unsigned from this year's crop of first-round selections.
Allen stayed in contact with the team during the holdout, even studying video of each practice in an effort to not slide too far down the learning curve.
"He's excited about it and I think the other players are really positive about the fact that he's here," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said. "We just spoke with him every day and tried to get him better so we could get him ready to play. And he has to compete with the other guys who have been here to earn his spot."
Also Tuesday, the Dolphins waived injured cornerback Will Poole -- who missed the entire 2005 season after reconstructive knee surgery and reinjured the joint last week in camp. Poole tore the ACL in his left knee during a minicamp in the spring of 2005, but Saban said the team would want him back if he clears waivers.
"That's certainly our intention with Will, so he may be able to come back," Saban said.
In a way, Tuesday's practice seemed like a comeback of sorts for Allen, too.
He led the Southeastern Conference with 123 tackles in 2004, becoming the first non-linebacker in at least 35 years to lead Tennessee in that department. But he played only the first five games of his senior season because of a dislocated hip, yet the Dolphins obviously weren't hesitant about him on draft day.
Allen looked very much at ease during his first practice, even though he acknowledged that he was a bit lost from time to time. He worked out daily in Atlanta during his holdout, doing so in midday heat and under a steamy sun -- simulating the camp conditions in South Florida.
"It's been a big relief for to be back here, come back home so to speak," Allen said. "Been looking forward to coming down here. Very excited to be back around the guys in practice. I hadn't had full pads on since October."
Allen's agent, Mitch Frankel, said his client was clearly relieved when learning the contract impasse was over.
"He just wanted to play football, get in and start his professional career," Frankel said.
He may wait a bit longer for his first pro game, though. Allen will have as many as four practice days before the preseason opens against Jacksonville on Saturday night, but Saban indicated he probably won't be ready to play in the first exhibition.
"Very similar to the way we did Ronnie Brown last year, I have a theory that a guy probably ought to practice for eight or nine practices before you put him in that kind of situation," Saban said, referring to the team's No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft. "We'll probably use a similar philosophy."
Ribbing from teammates aside, Allen -- who hadn't been with the Dolphins since organized training activity days this spring, although he kept in contact with several Miami players during the holdout -- said he was simply thrilled to be back on the field.
"I want to put myself in a situation where I can be the driver and be a leader on the defense," Allen said., "I feel that's why the coaches drafted me."
Dolphins S Allen to earn nearly $9 million guaranteed Jeff Darlington 8/8/2006
Dolphins safety Jason Allen's newly signed contract will give him the opportunity to earn between $24 and $30 million with the franchise tag during his final year of a six-year contract, a source said Tuesday.
His maximum earnings depend on his primary position — cornerback or safety — in 2011.
"DAMMIT!!!!! I knew it, I knew it, I KNEW IT!!!!"-Immortal words of The Captain