NFL says Dolphins didn't violate rule in hiring Tannenbaum

MIAMI (AP) The NFL weighed in on the confusing, conflicting explanations of the Miami Dolphins' new power structure, saying the team didn't violate the Rooney Rule in hiring Mike Tannenbaum as executive vice president of football operations.

The rule requires teams to consider minority candidates when hiring for senior football operations positions, but that didn't apply to Tannenbaum's new job, the league said Wednesday.

''We have discussed the hiring of Mike Tannenbaum for a senior football position with Dolphins owner Steve Ross,'' the league said in a statement. ''Mr. Ross has confirmed that general manager Dennis Hickey retains all of his prior authority over the draft and other personnel matters, and that Mr. Hickey will continue to report directly to Mr. Ross on these matters. Any public statement to the contrary is erroneous and does not accurately reflect the reporting structure at the Dolphins.''

In a news release announcing the hiring Tuesday, the Dolphins said Hickey would report directly to Tannenbaum. But the release also said Hickey would continue to lead the personnel and scouting departments and have control of the 53-man roster.

During a subsequent conference call with reporters, Tannenbaum said Hickey would have the final say on roster and draft decisions - but added he would be Hickey's boss.

''Dennis and all of the other departments will be reporting to me,'' said Tannenbaum, a former general manager for the New York Jets. ''Knowing what that GM job entails, one of the things that I hope and I know Steve hopes is Dennis will have more time to worry about scouting and all of that entails and running the scouting department.

''There are a ton of administrative things that come across your desk that I'll handle ... trying to take the big picture, when we see opportunities in analytics or innovation, trying to tie all of those things together. There are a lot of departments that go on in running a football team.''

The Dolphins had no comment Wednesday beyond noting the league statement.

One thing has been made clear: coach Joe Philbin will continue to report directly to Ross.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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