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Ron Wolf mulls return to NFL as Dolphins' leading GM candidate

 

By Alex Marvez and Michael Cunningham

Staff Writers

Posted December 30 2003

 

DAVIE -- Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt soon could have one of the NFL's most respected assessors of talent as his new supervisor.

 

Shortly after signing Wannstedt to a two-year contract extension Monday, the Dolphins immediately identified their leading contender for a newly created general manager position by dangling the job to Ron Wolf.

 

"I'm very flattered," said Wolf, who served as Green Bay's general manager and executive vice president from 1991 to 2001 before retiring. "We had preliminary discussions today. I'm going to weigh some things, talk about some things with people and sleep on this overnight. We are going to revisit this later in the week.

 

"I have to make up my mind whether this is what I want to do. It's as simple as that ... I've been away from this for a while. I have to determine whether I want to get back into it."

 

Wolf, who turns 65 today, built a roster in Green Bay that won Super Bowl XXXI and reached Super Bowl XXXII. Hired in November 1991 after five seasons with the New York Jets, Wolf's teams had a 92-52 regular-season mark from 1992 to 2000 along with seven playoff appearances and no sub-.500 campaigns. He retired in February 2001.

 

The Dolphins haven't had a losing season since Wannstedt became head coach in 2000. But Wannstedt's job security came into question after his team failed to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive season despite finishing with a 10-6 mark.

 

Shortly after arriving via helicopter at the team's Davie headquarters Monday morning, Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga informed Wannstedt that he would be retained. But Wannstedt was forced to cede the general manager role that gave him the final say on personnel decisions, which was a power Huizenga also had given to predecessors Jimmy Johnson and Don Shula. It's also believed contract language in Wannstedt's extension would not deter a general manager from making a coaching change if the GM felt one was necessary after the 2004 season.

 

Huizenga refused to speak with the media after meeting with Wannstedt but did offer a team-released statement.

 

"We believe this change gives us a well-balanced football structure," Huizenga said. "With the evolving nature of the NFL since the introduction of a salary cap, it has become increasingly difficult for one individual to be responsible for both coaching and player personnel matters. As a result, approximately two-thirds of the teams in the league now operate in a system that features a strong general manager, with most of those organizations also featuring a salary cap expert.

 

"Fortunately, [Dolphins Executive Vice President]Bryan Wiedmeier has done an outstanding job managing the team's salary cap and he will continue to be a valuable resource to our football operations. This reorganization will allow the new general manager to devote all of his attention to improving the talent on our roster. At the same time, it will give coach Wannstedt and his staff the ability to focus even more on preparing the team to play every week."

 

From a personnel standpoint, Wannstedt has experienced his share of hits and misses since becoming Dolphins coach. Wannstedt traded for such standout performers as tailback Ricky Williams and linebacker Junior Seau while keeping almost all of the team's marquee defensive talent under contract.

 

But Wannstedt has failed to adequately upgrade his offensive personnel, with his inability to upgrade the offensive line and wide receiver corps particularly noticeable this season. The Dolphins' offense ranked 24th in the NFL, which is the team's worst standing since Wannstedt's first season and second lowest in the past 22 years.

 

If Wannstedt was upset about losing his say in personnel matters, he didn't express it to the media.

 

"The biggest thing with me was time," Wannstedt said. "It's a seven-day-a-week, 52-weeks-a-year job and you need a little bit of a break. This will help where I can spend a little bit more time with the football part of it and help balance it out, I think."

 

Rick Spielman currently heads the Dolphins' personnel department, but final decisions on talent are made by Wannstedt. Spielman met with Huizenga for an hour Monday in what was considered an interview for the general manager post.

 

The Dolphins are believed to want Spielman to remain with the team even if Wolf is hired. Spielman could draw significant interest from other teams for front-office positions if he wants to leave, But Spielman's contract requires him to receive permission from the Dolphins to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

 

If hired, Wolf could assume the role as Dolphins president from Eddie Jones, who said Monday that he was willing to step down from the position while still keeping a spot in the team's front office. Jones, who has 36 years of NFL experience, had planned to retire after the 2002 season but changed his mind.

 

Jones contacted Green Bay on Monday to ask for permission to speak with Wolf, who is serving as a team consultant and is under contract with the Packers until May. The Packers granted permission and are not expected to seek compensation for Wolf, who hasn't done work for the team since last year's draft.

 

The Dolphins have assembled a list of candidates in case Wolf decides to remain retired. Buffalo Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak, ex-New Orleans general manager Randy Mueller and Tampa Bay Interim General Manager Tim Ruskell are under consideration.

 

Scott Pioli, who is New England's vice president of player personnel, is well-regarded by the Dolphins. But Pioli's contract with the Patriots includes language that would require him to receive permission to interview with another team, which is something New England doesn't appear willing to grant.

 

Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison said he thought the addition of a general manager would help reduce stress on Wannstedt.

 

"I think it's a good thing," Madison said. "I think he'll have a new approach and it will be positive. This organization will be a lot better having a separate GM and a separate coach. I don't see us spending a lot of money getting another coach. We can spend the money on players."

 

Or on Wolf, who earned $2.2 million in his final season with the Packers.

 

Staff writer Ethan Skolnick contributed to this report. Alex Marvez can be reached at [email protected].

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Guest marlins02

so much for Wolf, for now at least

 

Dolphins to pursue other GM candidates after Wolf declines interview

 

By Alex Marvez

Sun-Sentinel

Posted December 30 2003, 5:15 PM EST

 

The Dolphins plans to interview Ron Wolf for their vacant general manager position were put on hold Tuesday when the ex-Green Bay executive told team officials he was not sure whether he wanted to come out of retirement.

 

"Ron called to say at this point he can't bring himself to grips with the commitment he knows he would have to make to do a good job," Dolphins President Eddie Jones said. "We're going to keep that one alive to the extent that we can while the process is going on."

 

The Dolphins now plan to interview three other candidates for the position, with Jones saying the team is in the process of trying to set meetings with Buffalo Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak, Tampa Bay executive Tim Ruskell and ex-New Orleans General Manager Randy Mueller. The Dolphins have received permission from the Bills and Buccaneers to interview Modrak and Ruskell respectively. Jones said he was waiting to hear back from Mueller after speaking with him Monday night.

 

Rick Spielman, who currently heads the Dolphins' personnel department, also has interviewed for the position.

 

Wolf, who turned 65 today, said Monday that he was flattered by the Dolphins' interest but would have to weigh a return to the NFL after three seasons away. Wolf is credited with assembling a standout roster and coaching staff in Green Bay that won one Super Bowl and reached another.

 

Jones said Wolf would be reconsidered if he decided to pursue the job at a later date, provided the Dolphins don't already have their sights set on another general manager.

 

The Dolphins are seeking to hire a general manager with control over personnel decisions after taking those powers away from coach Dave Wannstedt, who was granted a two-year extension Monday despite his team failing to reach the postseason each of the past two years.

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Never was there even a prayer of Wolf becoming a Dolphin or will there ever will be a prayer!

 

hahaha.

 

I heard those rumors and knew that Ron was laughing at them as hard as I was.

He has a consulting deal with the Packers and also is too loyal to Green Bay to come back for anyone but the Packers.

 

Besides if he were to come back, Miami would probably have to compensate us with even more draft picks and you guys are all already thin on those.

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Guest marlins02

ive heard all those rumors to for a while, it was a long shot, the man likes retirement but at least they tried.

 

 

does anybody hear that sucking sound also? oh wait its phlubs lips on....

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Besides if he were to come back, Miami would probably have to compensate us with even more draft picks and you guys are all already thin on those.

from the sun-sentinel

 

Jones contacted Green Bay on Monday to ask for permission to speak with Wolf, who is serving as a team consultant and is under contract with the Packers until May. The Packers granted permission and are not expected to seek compensation for Wolf, who hasn't done work for the team since last year's draft.

 

seems there may have been no compensation needed...

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Rick Spielman currently heads the Dolphins' personnel department, but final decisions on talent are made by Wannstedt. Spielman met with Huizenga for an hour Monday in what was considered an interview for the general manager post.

 

Get the man that got you Seau, locked up Thomas and Taylor, and drafted Surtain and Chambers! We're only a few lineman and a wide receiver away from the Supe Bowl.

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Get the man that got you Seau, locked up Thomas and Taylor, and drafted Surtain and Chambers! We're only a few lineman and a wide receiver away from the Supe Bowl.

And a QB away also. And a younger defense, a big 330 lb. DT. And a legit Head Coach.

 

does anybody hear that sucking sound also? oh wait its phlubs lips on....

 

Oh yes thats my lips sucking on one of my many Super Bowl rings after I bit my tongue. Or is it NFL Championship rings? You see Marlins02 I have 12 of them so they are easily confused with eachother.

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