SBD/February 20, 2014/Franchises

Dolphins Fire Two Coaches In Wake Of Wells Report; Marino To The Rescue?

Turner was sharply criticized in Ted Wells' report on locker room bullying
Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletics trainer Kevin O'Neill last night were fired as "casualties of the team’s harassment scandal," according to Andrew Abramson of the PALM BEACH POST. Both were "criticized sharply" in the Ted Wells report on the team's locker room bullying of OT Jonathan Martin. Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross in a statement said, "The language and behavior as described in the Ted Wells report are against the core values of our organization. After receiving the report, I conducted my own internal review of the facts to determine the appropriate steps for our organization." Ross added he is "in contact with Jonathan Martin and we plan to meet soon" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 2/19). ESPN.com's James Walker wrote the Dolphins "absolutely made the correct call to fire O'Neill and Turner." This was a "good first step" for the team, which "must immediately change its sordid locker-room culture." The Dolphins proved they are "making the necessary changes to begin the healing process" (ESPN.com, 2/19). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes firing Turner was a "necessary call," and it "shouldn't have been a difficult call." The Dolphins "must have known they had to do this" as they hired Texans offensive line coach John Benton "a couple of weeks ago." Turner "allowed a line to be crossed." The behavior "should have been corrected within the privacy of the locker room and everyone would have been better for it." Turner was the "first guy who should have corrected it." But Hyde writes he "needs more information" on the firing of O'Neill, who is a "pro's pro who was voted by fellow NFL trainers and medical staff as the league's top trainer this year." He was to have been "given the award" tomorrow at the Draft Combine (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/20).

DAN IN REAL LIFE: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib noted despite a "reluctance to call out current Dolphins players," former NFLer Jason Taylor "made it clear Wednesday morning that the current mess the organization finds itself in would not have been allowed to escalate in past Dolphins eras." Speaking on Miami-based WAXY-FM, Taylor "offered one bit of advice to the Dolphins on how to move past" the scandal, which was to "bring Dan Marino back into the fold." Taylor: "Dan should absolutely be involved in the organization. And I know he can do the job. PR-wise I know he can do the job." But Taylor "couldn't say" exactly what Marino's job might be (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 2/19). In Miami, Greg Cote writes even if Ross was "hesitant to find a place for Marino and restructure his front office power grid yet again, being convinced to do so could be in the club's interest." It is "desirable to have a front man at a level below the owner but above the coach who presents the image you want, and who can sell your team and its vision to prospective major hires such as top free agents or coaches." That is "doubly desirable when neither your owner nor head coach is accomplished in his role or charismatic, and when your general manager is newly hired and a rookie at the job." The "salesmanship, résumé and aura" of Heat President Pat Riley "cannot be underestimated for its huge impact" on the team. Marino would "give the Dolphins a front man of similar stature" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/20).
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