Cowboys assistant Sparano interviews for Dolphins' coaching job

Updated: January 6, 2008, 3:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- The front-running candidate to become the Miami Dolphins' coach was also the first to interview.

Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano interviewed Saturday in Dallas with new Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who was hired away from the Cowboys this week. The Dolphins declined to say whether executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells also took part.

The Dolphins met first with Sparano in part because he's off-limits for interviews beginning Sunday. He can't be interviewed again until the Cowboys either lose in the playoffs or reach the open week before the Super Bowl on Jan. 21-27.

Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is another candidate for the Dolphins' top job. He will be interviewed Tuesday in South Florida, according to the Miami Herald. Ryan is also considered a candidate to replace Brian Billick as the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is expected to interview with Miami next week. Other possible candidates include Jacksonville assistant head coach Mike Tice and Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The Dolphins fired Cam Cameron on Thursday after he went 1-15 in his first year as an NFL head coach. The new head coach will be their fifth since 2004.

Sparano also interviewed Saturday with the Ravens, as did Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Sparano and Garrett interviewed Friday with the Atlanta Falcons.

Ireland has stressed that he and Parcells want to hire a coach they know who shares their philosophy. The 46-year-old Sparano was hired by Parcells in Dallas in 2003 as tight ends coach, became offensive line coach in 2005 and called plays for Parcells in 2006.

Sparano was promoted to assistant head coach last February. His only head coaching experience was at New Haven in 1994-98.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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