Over the past few days it has been a rampant rumor that the man, or woman, tasked with running the Miami Dolphins would simply be a personnel guy. Not an actual, you know, GM. The role that Jeff Ireland was asked to assume before the two sides parted ways took absolute power from Jeff Ireland and put it into the hands of an unknown management hierarchy. Today, owner Stephen Ross put that question to rest.
On the heels of a report by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an advocacy group to help minority hires, Ross publicly for the first time made a statement following the season ending loss to the Jets.
“The new General Manager will have autonomous responsibility for the 53 man rosterand selecting players during the draft and will report to me,” Ross said. “First and foremost, this person must have a passion for the game and demonstrated player evaluation expertise. They will need to be a person who is a collaborative team player that puts the organization first. Regardless of reporting structure, the relationship between the General Manager and Coach Philbin must be one of trust, respect, and collaboration, and this will be an area we will look closely at during the process. This individual also must be a person with integrity who is open-minded and creative.”
Ross re-iterates some of what CEO Tom Garfinkel said at a luncheon on Wednesday. The Fritz Pollard Alliance had issued a statement advising minority candidates to avoid the Miami Dolphins vacancy if it were going to be a non-GM, GM type of job. In other words a title only. Ross put those rumors to bed.
Stephen Ross also addressed the rumors that have been circulating regarding the “Czar” that would oversee the entire football operations. He stated that Carl Peterson will be assisting him in the search for a new GM and that afterwards, Peterson would be out of the picture. That is not to say at some time that Ross won’t hire a “Czar” figure but most believed that Peterson was the more than logical choice.
The Dolphins will begin interviews tomorrow, Friday, to fill the vacancy. The team has added Omar Khan of Pittsburgh, Jason Licht of the Cardinals, and the team also announced that Brian Gaine would be given an interview as well. The Dolphins have been at the forefront of negative press (yes, I am guilty of that as well) since the season ended and especially over the last 72 hours that have seen Mike Sherman and Jeff Ireland fired.
The statement by Ross does clarify if not officially but unofficially that Joe Philbin will return for his third season and that the new GM will have to work with him. Whether the new GM will have power to fire Philbin after the 2014 season is obviously not known but Ross made it very clear that the two men must work together. Something that apparently was not possible between Philbin and Ireland throughout this season.
There are still questions regarding how exactly the team will be structured on the inside and some of that may be laid out depending on who the team hires to run the GM position. It’s likely that the Dolphins will have a GM in place by next week at this time or at the very least have a short list of final candidates. For now, it’s at least a relief to know that the GM will actually operate as a GM.