Parcells Goes To Work With Dolphins

Friday, December 28th 2007, 7:23 am
By: News On 6

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) _ Bill Parcells reported to his new job and quickly put aside one theory about what ails the Miami Dolphins.

It turns out they really do practice.

Parcells was on the field for Thursday's workout and a firsthand look at the NFL's worst team. He signed a four-year contract last week to become executive vice president of football operations.

``When he walked out, everybody noticed,'' defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday said. ``There was a whisper here and there.''

As a coach, Parcells took over losing teams with the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys and transformed them into winners. He won five division titles in 19 seasons and led the Giants to two Super Bowl championships.

Now he takes charge of a franchise that flirted with the first 0-16 season in NFL history and missed the playoffs for the sixth year in a row, extending a team record.

``I have quite frankly been in this situation before,'' Parcells said at a news conference, where he addressed the South Florida media for the first time since being hired. ``I'm just trying to be a good team member and help use my experience to put a structure in place that will serve the Dolphins well now and in the future, hopefully for the long term.''

Parcells didn't address the team. He'll likely leave the speeches to his head coach, which for the moment is Cam Cameron.

Parcells' first big decision will be whether to retain Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller. Parcells said he doesn't want either job.

``I have to evaluate all the things that are here first of all, and attempt to do that as expeditiously as possible, and see where we go from there,'' Parcells said. ``I don't know where that's going to take us. ...

``Once the season is over and Cam has had time to do his year-end stuff with the team, the next day or two we'll sit down and have a good long discussion.''

The Dolphins lost their first 13 games under Cameron, and they take a 1-14 record into Sunday's finale against Cincinnati, which will end the worst season in franchise history.

Cameron said he spoke briefly to Parcells during practice.

``I went over and said hello, and he said hello,'' Cameron said. ``One thing he said is, `Hey, I know we've got to get ready for Cincinnati. So just keep doing what you're doing, and there will be time to talk.'''

Parcells, 66, quit coaching after the 2006 season with Dallas. He spent this season as a TV network analyst, and said he decided to join the Dolphins because he can't get football out of his system.

``I've quit being ashamed of what I am,'' he said. ``I'm a guy who likes football very much. I've always liked it. I guess you could call that male menopause when you're no longer ashamed of what you are. That happened to me many years ago, really.

``Hopefully I can add to this organization and lend my experience to it. I know there aren't many more stops on the road, but I do feel energized. So I look forward to the challenge.''

Owner Wayne Huizenga attended the news conference, but didn't talk to reporters. He considered selling the Dolphins, but took them off the market when he hired Parcells.

Those critical of the move note Parcells' most recent playoff victory came nine years ago. He went 24-24 in his final three seasons in Dallas, and conceded he feels pressure to succeed in Miami.

``I don't mind saying that,'' Parcells said. ``When your name is on it, and it's not going too well, it doesn't make any difference how many championships you've won. You're not winning now, so you become some of the ones that aren't winning now. And they use other terms for you.

``I do feel pressure to try to improve this situation.''

The situation deteriorated this season, but it has been 15 years since the Dolphins reached the AFC championship game, 23 years since they made the Super Bowl and 34 years since they won an NFL title.

Don Shula, the coach of those teams, said he hopes Huizenga's latest attempt to remedy the franchise's woes is successful.

``After a recent history of disappointing seasons, the Miami Dolphins need to restore the winning tradition that has defined the organization for so many years,'' Shula said in a statement released by the team. ``Nobody wants to win more than Wayne Huizenga, and hopefully this move will help the Dolphins return to their former position as one of the elite teams in the National Football League.''

Parcells declined to offer a timetable for a turnaround. But he needed only one practice to make an impact in Miami, linebacker Joey Porter said.

``Guys were nervous out there,'' Porter said. ``They got to running around a little faster. The coaches got to coaching a little louder. You definitely knew he was out there. ...

``He's known for building programs to win, and we're just all waiting to see. This year is over. We've got one game to finish out, and then we'll wait for him to do his magic.''