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Former Bucs exec Hickey introduced as Dolphins GM
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to put a positive spin on the franchise’s direction at a news conference Tuesday, stressing the need for more organizational harmony and better teamwork.
Hickey replaces Jeff Ireland, who clashed with Philbin and Aponte during the Dolphins‘ tumultuous 2013 season, which was rocked by a bullying scandal and a December collapse that cost them a playoff berth.
“The reason we made the change wasn’t because I didn’t think highly of Jeff,” Ross said. “But we needed to have harmony within the organization where everybody had respect for each other and operated with the same mindset at all times.”
The news conference was filled with awkward pauses, and the mood was subdued because Hickey’s hiring came after two candidates turned down the job, while others also gave the Dolphins a stiff-arm. Several were concerned about the team’s power structure, and Ross‘ loyalty to Philbin and Aponte may also have deterred potential GMs.
Ross said he wasn’t going to let a general manager decide the fate of the head coach.
“I own the team,” Ross said. He shrugged when asked about the candidates who rebuffed him.
“I set out the characteristics I was looking for,” he said. “People might have other ideas in their mind. We were pretty clear in the structure. It’s not an unusual structure. I think we have very talented staff that I’m very comfortable with.”
“We’re not playing fantasy football,” Ross said. “You look at the great organizations, and there’s consistency within them. You just don’t change every time something goes wrong or you don’t win a game. You dont just replace everybody.
“I like the track we’re on. I feel as bad as everybody that we didn’t make the playoffs. But there’s such a fine line between winning and losing, and you don’t just start all over again. We’re not that far away. I have a lot of faith and confidence in coach Philbin and his staff and the direction they’re headed.”
“As we sat there it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, this fits,’” Hickey said. “I feel like we’re already on the same page and our philosophies are the same and we want to build a winner and do it together.
By John R. Bolton
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