|Dan Marino doesn't think Bill Cowher will coach in '12. Meanwhile, Miami is reportedly talking to Carl Peterson. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Dolphins fired Tony Sparano Monday. At 4-9, Miami's season is over and owner Stephen Ross decided to part ways now, in mid-December, presumably to get a head start on finding his next coach. One that will either be "a young Don Shula" or an already established big-name veteran of NFL sidelines.
In both cases, the usual suspects were mentioned, from offensive coordinators Jay Gruden (Bengals) and Brian Schottenheimer (Jets), or even Josh McDaniels, who coached the Broncos in 2009-10 and now serves as the offensive coordinator in St. Louis. To Super Bowl winners like Brian Billick, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden.
On October 30, Cowher, who currently serves as an NFL analyst for CBS' The NFL Today, addressed reports that he had been approached about his interest in the Dolphins gig. "I am here to say to you today: I do not plan on coaching next year. I love where I work, more importantly, I enjoy the people that I work with up here. So I can put all this speculation to rest and if I have to repeat this in December again, I will."
On Wednesday, Dan Marino, the Hall of Fame Dolphins quarterback who now works with Cowher at CBS, spoke about his colleague's coaching future.
"I would love to see him be the Dolphins' coach or if he wanted to coach again because that would be great for the NFL, but I don't think his mind-set is that he wants to coach again," Marino told the team's official website (via NFL.com).
"And he may change that over time now, but my feeling is that, you know, he's a pretty straightforward ... guy that tells the -- kind of -- the truth most of the time, I would say -- or no, all the time -- and he said on TV that he doesn't have any plans of coming back, and I believe him."
On Thursday, the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero sounded similarly pessimistic that Cowher would be coaching in 2012 ("Not necessarily") or for the Dolphins ("I keep hearing from people in NFL circles that he will not.")
And now there are reports that the Dolphins are talking with former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson about joining the organization in an executive position.
“Both want to make it work,” an NFL source said told the Herald's Barry Jackson. “Ross wants more management experience” in the organization.
Also worth mentioning: Peterson has ties to Cowher.
On October 26, seven weeks before Sparano was fired, the Palm Beach Post's Hal Habib wrote about the possibility of Cowher coming to South Beach.
If Cowher believes the time is right -- and Miami dismisses coach Tony Sparano -- it's conceivable that former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson would facilitate a deal with the Dolphins.And what would be the Dolphins' fallback plan if they couldn't land Cowher, Gruden or Billick? According to Jackson, it might be LSU coach Les Miles. Except that Miles has already issued a "Thanks, but no thanks" statement.
Peterson is a business associate and longtime friend of both Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and [former NFL coach Dick] Vermeil. Peterson gave Cowher his first playing contract and helped add Cowher to the Chiefs' coaching staff under Marty Schottenheimer in 1989.
"I know that Carl Peterson has great admiration for Bill Cowher," Vermeil said.
“He wanted everyone to know that he is not interested in the Miami job,” LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said.
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