Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland regrets run-in with critical fan. (Getty Images)
NFL fans outside of Miami were given an inside glimpse of the Dolphins during training camp, including the player/personnel moves of general manager Jeff Ireland in HBO's "Hard Knocks." Many fans in Miami have voiced displeasure on Ireland's inability to consistently field a winning roster in his four years at the helm. Now one Ireland critic has received a profane reply from the embattled exec.
Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reports Ireland and a Dolphins fan had an "uncomfortable" exchange at halftime of Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders -- and that Ireland regrets losing his cool.
After visiting his family in his Sun Life Stadium suite, Ireland encountered several fans on his way back to his seat to view the game, including one critic:
According to multiple eyewitnesses who called local station The Ticket and a highly placed club source...A fan complained to Ireland about what he said was his poor management of the team. And at one point that fan said to Ireland, "We need you to fire yourself."
According to everyone I've talked to including team officials, Ireland responded by using the term "a--hole" either directed at the fan or loud enough for the fan to hear as he walked away.
Ireland later called Salguero to tell him he regretted his role in the incident.
"It caught me off guard. I just turned and walked away but I did say the word. I regret I used the word I used. I thought I was using it under my breath. I guess I kind of said it loud enough that he could hear it. I literally said it under my breath. At the time I felt I handled the situation pretty good. Probably muttered it a little too loud. I regret that I said anything."
While the Dolphins did win Sunday, the incident can't help Ireland's possibly tenuous future with the team after three straight losing seasons.