In what was deemed by the team to be a mutual parting of ways, the Miami Dolphins have decided to move on without general manager Jeff Ireland, who had filled that role with the team since Jan. 2, 2008. Ireland came to Miami during the Bill Parcells regime, as he had worked with Parcells in Dallas.
When Parcells moved on after the 2010 season, Ireland stayed put, though the permanence of his position has been under serious question in the last few seasons. Fans have enacted "Fireland" protests, and after the Richie Incognito bullying scandal and the Dolphins' fifth straight year without a playoff appearance, it seemed that team owner Stephen Ross would be more likely than ever to put his own man in charge.
“I want to personally thank Jeff for his hard work and dedication in building the team over the past six years,” Ross said in a team-issued statement. “After a series of discussions, we both felt that it was in our mutual best interest to part ways. Jeff was a loyal and dedicated member of the Dolphins and we wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
“I’ve spent the last six years with the best organization in football,” Ireland said in that same statement. “Steve and I came to an agreement that the best thing moving forward for all parties would be to part ways. I’d like to thank Steve for all his support and kindness. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people during this time and I’d like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart."
On Jan. 4, Ross spent over six hours at the team's complex in Davie, Fla., reportedly talking about staff changes, but refusing to comment on any decisions made. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was fired on Monday after a disappointing season on that side of the ball. Ross spent more than $100 million in guaranteed money in the most recent offseason to improve the team's roster.
The Dolphins needed to win just one of their two final games to end that playoff drought, but they lost 19-0 to the Buffalo Bills in Week 16 and 20-7 at the hands of the New York Jets. The franchise is 46-50 during Ireland's tenure. The team statement said that there will be an immediate search for Ireland's replacement.