Dolphins' new boss seeks 'passion,' spirit in players


Miami's new executive vice president of football operations, Bill Parcells, said on Friday he wants to bring in dedicated players to the onetime NFL power. Speaking during his weekly show on ESPN Radio Primetime, Parcells said he intends to look to draft players marked by a deep "passion for football" for the team that has lost 13 out of 14 games.

"If football is not their most important thing to them other than their immediate family, then I'm probably not going to be interested in them," Parcells said Friday. "That's the [way] I am. And I want people around me that are like that."

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. Even before Parcells' hiring, Miami's roster already seemed certain for an offseason overhaul.

Parcells said the Dolphins will seek to secure the best available football talent in the 2008 draft regardless of position.

"It's not going to be driven by the media or somebody's poll or some mock draft," he said. "There's a high economic risk in making the first pick of the draft and you have to make sure you pick a solid football player that with good fortune is going to be solid for your franchise for a long time."

Parcells' rebuilding project is a massive undertaking -- much like when he 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.

But early in the week, many believed Parcells would take the front-office reins of the Falcons. By Wednesday afternoon, that deal fell apart, and the Dolphins and Parcells closed in on a contract Dolphins owner Wayne 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.

"Monday, I spoke with Wayne and there had been some talk about the pending sale of the Dolphins and that concerned me," Parcells said. "I certainly didn't want to work for anybody but Wayne Huizenga because he's the man I knew ... So I kind of had a feel for him."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that late Wednesday morning, Parcells was about an hour away from meeting with Falcons' owner Arthur Blank, at which he was to seal the deal with the Falcons, when Huizenga informed him that he would be retaining a majority interest in the Dolphins.

Parcells stressed that the deal to become the Falcons' head of football operations never was as close as reported.

"An agreement in principle is a very ambiguous term and what may seem that way to one person may not seem that way to the other," said Parcells, who reportedly agreed to a preliminary agreement with the Falcons early this week. "There really wasn't any finalization of anything with the Falcons."

Now, here is where the questions begin to creep in.

What happens to first-year coach Cam Cameron or team general manger Randy Mueller?

"I'm not ready to say anything about that now," Parcells said in the interview. "I have to evaluate the current situation in Miami before making any decisions as to anybody in the future."

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.

ESPN football reporter Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.