Denni Hickey will move south after accepting the job as general manager of the Miami Dolphins.
Cliff Welch/Icon SMI

MIAMI (AP) -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Dennis Hickey has been hired as general manager of the Miami Dolphins, ending an arduous search that lasted nearly three weeks.

Hickey has been with the Buccaneers for 18 seasons, including the past three as director of player personnel. He was their director of college scouting for six years.

The hiring Sunday came after the Dolphins were rebuffed by several candidates. New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio was offered the position Saturday but turned down the Dolphins, according to multiple reports. Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer withdrew from consideration Thursday.

Several potential candidates turned down chances to interview as a replacement for Jeff Ireland, whose six-year stint as general manager ended Jan. 7 when he and owner Stephen Ross agreed to part ways. Miami collapsed late in the season to finish 8-8 and hasn't been above .500 since 2008, the longest such stretch in franchise history.

Ross interviewed eight candidates. The other finalist was Dolphins assistant general manager Brian Gaine, who worked under Ireland.

Some candidates and potential candidates expressed concern about the Dolphins' power structure, including the role of Dawn Aponte, the executive vice president of football administration, who clashed with Ireland. Ross has said the new GM will report to him and will have autonomy in building the roster.

The Dolphins await possible fallout from the NFL investigation into a locker-room bullying scandal that drew national scrutiny. The league report on the case will be released after the Super Bowl.

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