Parcells signs 4-year deal to lead Dolphins' football operations

Updated: December 21, 2007, 5:33 AM ET
Associated Press

DAVIE, Fla. -- Wayne Huizenga gave an extremely simple description of Bill Parcells' new job with the Miami Dolphins.

"He's got the ultimate responsibility," said Huizenga, the team's title-starved owner.

Parcells welcomes the challenge.

The two-time Super Bowl champion coach signed a four-year contract Thursday to become the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations, a fancy title meaning he'll oversee "anything that has to do with football, directly or indirectly," Huizenga said.

The two-time Super Bowl champion coach will report directly to Huizenga, whose affinity for big-name help has led him to a 66-year-old former coach of four NFL clubs who owns a home in South Florida and now has a job there, too.

"I'm honored to join such an illustrious franchise as the Miami Dolphins and to work for one of the best owners in the league in Wayne Huizenga," Parcells said. "He shares my same commitment to winning, and I told him I would do everything I can to help turn around the team's fortunes."

That will be a massive undertaking -- much like when Parcells went to the Giants, the Jets, the Patriots and the Cowboys.

His coaching plan helped turn those teams around.

Miami hopes Parcells can do the same thing from the front office.

"The guy's a legend," running back Lorenzo Booker said. "There's no doubt about it. He knows what he's doing. Obviously, his resume is a mile long. But I'm a new guy in this league, so I don't even know what a vice president does, to be honest with you."

On Wednesday, many believed Parcells would take over in Atlanta. By afternoon, that deal fell apart, and the Dolphins and Parcells closed in on a contract Huizenga started brokering before the Falcons contacted the former coach.

They met in upstate New York -- the former coach has a home in Saratoga Springs -- last week, around the time Huizenga was reportedly considering selling the team for $1.1 billion. But Parcells said he was assured the owner would remain in control of the franchise, whether he takes on minority shareholders or not.

"That was a very, very big factor because I did not want to go work for somebody I didn't know," Parcells told ESPN, where he is employed as an analyst.

So now, he's taking on a very, very big job.

Miami started 0-13 before beating Baltimore last weekend. The roster already seemed certain for an offseason overhaul. The Dolphins likely will have the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, and the franchise is in the midst of its longest postseason drought, six years and counting.

Parcells insisted that he will not coach in Miami -- but could see himself helping the coach, whomever it is.

"It's a young man's game in terms of coaching, and I know it's time for someone else to be doing those things," Parcells said. "If I can assist that person in any manner of speaking with my experience or even in the technical aspect and he would seek out that, then I'm happy to contribute."

Let the questions begin.

What happens to first-year coach Cam Cameron, who sidestepped all Parcells questions Thursday?

What happens to general manger Randy Mueller?

"Well, I'm not going to be doing either one of those jobs," Parcells said. "So when I get down there, I'm going to just have to look at the situation and speak with those fellas and evaluate things and see where we go from there."

Huizenga said Parcells will decide both fates.

"As far as I know, both of those guys are secure," Huizenga said. "But it's not my decision."

Huizenga's desire to get the Dolphins back to Super Bowl form is no secret. He's spared little expense in that quest, and Parcells' hiring is just the latest leap of faith the owner has taken.

In January 2004, Huizenga hired the Dolphins' greatest player, Dan Marino, as senior vice president of football operations, a job created just for him. Marino lasted 22 days before resigning.

In December 2004, Huizenga wooed Nick Saban away from LSU with a massive contract and gave him complete control of the football team. Saban stayed two years, went 15-17 in those seasons and quit to become coach at Alabama.

Now comes maybe the biggest catch -- a Tuna.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Huizenga said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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