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Dolphins hire Packers OC Philbin to be next head coach

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Miami Dolphins have hired Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to be their next head coach, a league source told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi Friday.

The Dolphins later confirmed that Philbin will be the 10th head coach in team history.

Philbin was among three finalists for the position, including interim coach Todd Bowles and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. League sources had previously told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Friday that McCoy was the front-runner for the job.

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"The Dolphins have a strong nucleus to build around, and working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition," Philbin said, via the team's official site. "I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to their support, and I can't wait to get started."

Philbin, who has been with the Packers since 2003 and the team's offensive coordinator since 2007, could look to bring Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements along with him as offensive coordinator, sources told La Canfora. Clements is a candidate with Tampa Bay and interviewed with the Bucs on Thursday.

"Joe has all the attributes that we were looking for when we started this process," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement. "(General manager) Jeff Ireland and I felt Joe was the right choice to bring the Dolphins back to the success we enjoyed in the past."

The Dolphins, long in need of a franchise quarterback and looking for help on offense, are intrigued by Packers backup Matt Flynn, who is close with Philbin and obviously fits his system, source told La Canfora.

Also, according to sources, Philbin was amenable to retaining part of Miami's defensive staff, and ownership and management think highly of Bowles, who was the team's defensive backs coach before he was made interim head coach. Bowles has strong support from the players -- Miami went 2-1 with him after he replaced the fired Tony Sparano late this season, and the team nearly beat New England to go 3-0.

Ireland informed Bowles that Philbin was their new head coach. The Dolphins would like to keep Bowles as their defensive coordinator, league sources told La Canfora.

Bowles is exploring other options, sources said, and is a candidate for Oakland's head-coaching job. Staying with the Dolphins is not a priority at this point. If Bowles is not Oakland's next head coach, he could end up there as defensive coordinator. Philadelphia needs a secondary coach; Bowles is a native of the Philadelphia area.

The Dolphins let former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan leave for the same position with the Falcons.

The Dolphins' top choice, Jeff Fisher, turned them down a week ago to become coach of the St. Louis Rams. Miami then conducted a second round of interviews this week with Philbin, McCoy and Bowles.

Terms of Philbin's deal were not disclosed, but sources told the Miami Herald that it was for no less than four years. On Saturday, Philbin will fly to South Florida, where the team will hold a press conference to introduce him, according to the Herald.

Philbin decided to remain in consideration for various head-coaching jobs despite his son's recent drowning in a Wisconsin river. After spending a week away, Philbin rejoined the Packers last Sunday for their divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants. He completed his first of two interviews with Miami on Jan. 7. Philbin also interviewed for the Buccaneers' vacant head-coaching position.

"He's a special, special human being," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "What Joe has gone through, and what his family has gone through, obviously tough is not the proper word. ... His ability to come back meant a lot to all of us. It was not expected, it was not asked of him. But Joe's a class act."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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