A few days after top Miami Dolphins officials flew to California to court the then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh for a coaching vacancy they did not have, they gathered sheepishly in Florida to apologize to their coach — and announce a two-year contract extension for him.
Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, the team owner Stephen Ross and Coach Tony Sparano said any harm to their relationships had been repaired, but their body language and demeanor suggested otherwise.
”I should have probably let Tony know,” Ross said. ”I never thought it would be national news.”
Sparano went 7-9 in each of the past two seasons, and the team was dreadful in the final few weeks of 2010.
That inspired Ross to consider alternatives. Ross said he found Harbaugh appealing, because of his mastery of offense and because they are both Michigan alumni, and he decided to arrange a meeting.
But during their interview, Ross said, he decided to keep Sparano. Instead of offering Harbaugh a job, Ross said, he gave advice.
”I recommended, ‘Go back to Stanford and hitch yourself to the quarterback. You’ve got the best quarterback. You can win the national championship. The pros will be there.’ ”
On Friday, Harbaugh was named the coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
INTERVIEWS FOR FEWELL The Giants’ defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, will interview for the Broncos’ coaching vacancy Sunday, as will Denver’s interim coach, Eric Studesville. Fewell will also interview with the Browns, who met with Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, Mike Mularkey.