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OAKLAND - Notre Dame junior quarterback Brady Quinn, considered a potential high draft pick, left the door open to entering the 2006 NFL draft despite saying last week he likely will return for his senior season.


''Not unless something astronomical were to happen,'' Quinn said Saturday night after leading the Irish to a 38-31 comeback win against Stanford. ``It's something I may look at after the bowl game. But right now, I'm just worried about getting ready for the bowl game.


''It's something I'm going to have to study but I'm not thinking about right now,'' said Quinn, who said he didn't even know about the procedures he would have to follow to contact the NFL about his possible draft status.


While seemingly everyone associated with Notre Dame believes Quinn will return, there are many NFL teams that would be interested in him if he comes out.


Mark the Dolphins among those teams.


General manager Randy Mueller attended Saturday night's game with other members of the team staff. The team has studied Quinn extensively among the many quarterbacks the team will have to consider in the draft.


What could have a significant impact on Quinn and other juniors considering entering the draft is the upcoming negotiations on an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.


If and when the NFL can come to the table with the union on a new deal, one of the issues both sides will discuss is a limitation on the amount of guaranteed money rookies can receive, particularly the top 10 draft picks.


The concern among the league and the union is that the guaranteed money for players such as San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith ($24 million) and Miami running back Ronnie Brown ($20 million) has outstripped what many veterans should get and impedes the ability of older players to get more money.


''The contracts you write at the top of the draft are the worst ones that teams write these days,'' an NFL executive said last week. ``They can really come back to kill a team.''


If the league and union can work out a deal to restrict pay for top picks, those limitations likely would not take effect until the 2007 draft. That means that there could be a rush by some players, such as Quinn, to come out in 2006.


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Brady Quinn is the man he has had a great season and next season he will be at ND and he will be the heisman winner or atleast very close. i hope the dolphins draft him that would really make me happy. the guy can play ive followed him since he got recruited. But im 99.9 percent positive that he will return for his senior season.

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