Bill Parcells hands control of Miami Dolphins to GM Jeff Ireland, will stay on as consultant


Bill Parcells is putting his protege in charge.

The Miami Dolphins’ football czar has given control of the team to General Manager Jeff Ireland but will retain a role as a daily consultant. The Dolphins announced the move in a three-sentence statement Tuesday, five days before the start of the season.

The change was part of a long-range plan when the Parcells regime took over at the end of the 2007 season, the statement said.

Parcells joined the Dolphins in December 2007 as executive vice president of football operations, then hired Ireland two weeks later. They were also together with the Dallas Cowboys.

The 69-year-old Parcells can leave Miami at any time and collect the balance of the $12 million due him under a four-year contract that expires after the 2011 season.

He was hired by Wayne Huizenga as the Dolphins staggered to the end of a 1-15 season in 2007. In the Parcells regime’s first year in 2008, Miami made a great leap forward to 11-6 and a playoff berth under first-year NFL coach Tony Sparano, who also came from the Cowboys.

Last season the Dolphins regressed to 7-9, extending to nine years their drought without a postseason victory.

During the past offseason, the team acquired Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and revamped the defense. The front office has continued to be busy in recent days, acquiring six players since Saturday, and the Dolphins have 20 players with two years’ experience or less.

Owner Stephen Ross has said he expects the Dolphins to play in the Super Bowl this season, but most prognosticators expect a record around .500.

There was no comment from the secretive organization about the change in hierarchy beyond the statement. The team was off Tuesday, and Parcells rarely does interviews.

Parcells worked a full schedule during training camp, arriving early, watching practices from a golf cart and often offering players feedback. Safety Yeremiah Bell laughed when asked two weeks ago about Sparano’s ability to recall obscure moments in games.

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. He quit coaching after the 2006 season with Dallas.

Ireland spent seven years in player personnel with the Cowboys, including his final three as vice president of college and pro scouting. Dallas went 13-3 and won the NFC East in his final season there. Before that, he was an NFL scout for 11 years.


Donovan McNabb said his sprained ankle isn’t 100%, but it won’t keep him from starting the Washington Redskins’ opener Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

McNabb sprained his left ankle 2 1/2 weeks ago in a preseason game against Baltimore. McNabb said the injury isn’t classified as a high ankle sprain — the more severe type that has more significant ligament damage and a longer recovery time — but he said it’s “very close to it.” He said he’s getting multiple treatments each day.


The Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans are in discussions about a trade of disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, people with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press.

The people spoke to the AP on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Washington signed Haynesworth to a $100 million contract in 2009 as a free agent, and the tackle accepted a $21 million bonus in April. It’s been a nonstop battle of wills between Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan and the ex-Tennessee star since then.

The Titans declined to comment, and the Redskins did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Titans know Haynesworth well, having drafted him in the first round in 2002.

The Titans have missed Haynesworth’s presence in the middle of their line, slumping to 31 sacks without him helping collapse offensive lines. He managed only four sacks with the Redskins in 2009, a big dip from his 8 1/2 sacks in 2008 with Tennessee.


Quarterback Matt Leinart has officially joined the Houston Texans. He signed a one-year contract Tuesday. He was cut by the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday and agreed to terms with the Texans earlier this week.

The 27-year-old Leinart will be the No. 3 quarterback on the Texans. The team would not disclose terms of the deal. The Houston Chronicle reported that the contract has a base salary of $630,000, with a maximum value of $1 million.


The New York Jets re-signed veteran fullback Tony Richardson Tuesday, two days after he was cut. Richardson practiced and will play in the season opener against Baltimore on Monday night at the New Meadowlands Stadium.


Broncos tailback LenDale White underwent surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles’ tendon that will sideline him for the season.

His uncle, Herman White, told the Associated Press that the operation “went as expected” and that his nephew now has “some work he needs to put in.”


Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman practiced for the first time since breaking the thumb on his throwing hand and expects to play in the Buccaneers’ season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

The second-year pro missed the last two weeks of the preseason after banging his right thumb on the helmet of a pass rusher during an exhibition against the Kansas City Chiefs on Aug. 21.