Parcells signs four-year deal to head Dolphins' football operations

Bill Parcells signed a four-year contract with the Miami Dolphins to become the team's executive vice president of football operations on Thursday.

Parcells faxed the contract to the team, less than a day after turning down an offer to join the Atlanta Falcons.

"He has a proven track record of success everywhere he has been
in the National Football League," Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga said Thursday afternoon. "And his
football acumen will help put the Miami Dolphins franchise back
among the elite of the NFL."

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

On Wednesday, the expectation around the league was that
Parcells would take over in Atlanta. By the afternoon, however, the
deal had fallen apart, and the Dolphins moved quickly to get
Parcells to sign a contract.

"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."

The team made the announcement shortly after the locker room was
closed for the day, and roughly 45 minutes after Dolphins coach Cam
Cameron sidestepped at least a half-dozen questions about Parcells
-- even refusing to say if he's ever met the coach.

"There will potentially be a time to have that discussion,"
Cameron said. "Today, I don't see it as being that day or this

Parcells will be formally introduced next Thursday, the team said.

His arrival has taken nearly all the attention off the Dolphins'
game at New England on Sunday. But even as it appeared certain
Parcells was coming, players didn't say much on the hot topic.

"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,
so I'm waiting to find out as much as you guys."

Televisions were off in the locker room after practice Thursday;
that wasn't the case 24 hours earlier, when Parcells' face was
splashed across the screens as news broke he was weighing
Huizenga's offer.

Few players wanted to speak about Parcells, and those who did
generally offered the company line, that the Dolphins are only
thinking about Sunday's game at New England.

"Any more questions about New England?" defensive back Jason Allen asked.

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,
now 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 on ESPN. "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

So now, let the questions begin.

What happens to Cameron?

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."

Last Friday, Huizenga had been in
talks about selling the team for
about $1.1 billion. Now it seems that deal has since unraveled
and there's no immediate plans to sell even a portion of the

Parcells will finish his duties as an ESPN analyst this week, appearing on ESPN Radio Primetime Friday at 7 p.m. ET. His final work for the network will be as part of Monday night's Denver-San Diego coverage.

Parcells' return didn't seem to be a surprise in Dallas, where he retired as coach after last season.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, the son of Dallas owner
Jerry Jones, said Parcells was always intrigued "not just in the
coaching part, but putting the team together, running the
organization, trainers to fields to scouting department. It was
always a huge interest to him."

Huizenga has been known in the recent past to try to make a big splash by hiring a big name.

In January 2004, he hired Miami's greatest player, Dan Marino,
as senior vice president of football operations, a job created just
for him. Marino resigned from the loosely defined role 22 days
later, saying he didn't want to change his lifestyle.

Later that year, Huizenga hired coach Nick Saban away from LSU;
he lasted only two seasons in Miami before bolting after the 2006
campaign to return to college football at Alabama.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN. The Associated Press contributed to this report.