- Associated Press - Friday, January 7, 2011

DAVIE, FLA. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins‘ strange week took another bizarre turn Friday, leaving coach Tony Sparano’s status still in doubt.

The Dolphins scheduled a late-afternoon news conference to announce the retention of Sparano, but the session was postponed 20 minutes before the scheduled start. Nearly two hours later, the Dolphins rescheduled the session for Saturday.

A spokesman gave no reason for the postponement.

The Dolphins‘ cross-country courtship of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh ended late Thursday, and he was hired Friday to coach the San Francisco 49ers. With Harbaugh no longer an option, the Dolphins were expected to retain Sparano, who has one year left on his contract.

Sparano met Friday at the team complex with owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland, but there was no announcement regarding who will coach the Dolphins in 2011.

The news conference promised to be an entertaining exercise in damage control. While in limbo this week, Sparano reported to work daily, even as Ross and Ireland flew to California to get spurned by Harbaugh.

Conducting a coaching search when the Dolphins still had a coach threatened to undermine Sparano, whose status was already shaky because of his team’s late-season meltdown. The sequence of events also raised questions about the state of his relationship with Ireland, which dates back eight years when both were with the Dallas Cowboys.

The offseason has gone much like the latter part of the season for the Dolphins, who lost their final three games, including a 38-7 drubbing at New England in their finale last Sunday. Ross said before the season he expected the Dolphins to reach the Super Bowl, but instead they finished 7-9 and failed for the eighth time in nine years to reach the playoffs.

Sparano led Miami to that lone postseason berth in 2008, his first year as an NFL coach. He has a three-year record of 25-23.

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