Dolphins owner says Tony Sparano 'damaged the whole organization'

Rick Stewart

Stephen Ross aimed both barrels at former head coach Tony Sparano in a radio interview Friday.

The Miami Dolphins have been one of the NFL's most aggressive teams in free agency and throughout draft weekend. Making big moves to acquire top talent, owner Stephen Ross took a similar hard-nosed approach in the media when he talked about former coach Tony Sparano damaging the Dolphins organization, one he says is now back on track.


A radio interview on Friday was supposed to be focused on the team's stadium plans, but took a turn as Ross aired the team's dirty laundry on Sparano (now with the Oakland Raiders). He told Dan LeBatard that the team is operating "the best since the Shula days" because of how he and general manager Jeff Ireland are working together.

"I picked the head coach with Jeff Ireland. People see this organization is really on the uptick."

Relations between Sparano and the Dolphins' front office soured during the 2011 off-season. An unsuccessful overture to Jim Harbaugh (now San Francisco 49ers head coach) created an environment of mistrust between their head coach and the team's executives. Sparano remained in place despite a coaching search being conducted under his nose, and didn't think too highly of the team's direction.

"He could never put it behind him," Ross said. "I don't think he was the right head coach for the Miami Dolphins. I didn't hire him. We're a much better organization today than then."

A year later, the sides parted ways, and the new Dolphins approach took place. One of signing elite free agent Mike Wallace, and making the bold move to trade up to the third overall pick to select Dion Jordan on Thursday night. This year will prove whether Ross's assertion is correct, and the team is indeed on the path up after changing their head coach, and their approach to team-building.

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