Dolphins GM cites 'urgency' in hiring of Lee as QBs coach

DAVIE, Fla. -- New Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland says the team moved quickly to hire David Lee as quarterbacks coach because of the job's importance, even though the head coaching position remains vacant.

Lee, who ran the offense and tutored the quarterbacks last season at Ole Miss, is a former Dallas Cowboys assistant.

"There was an urgency to find the right person to coach the most important position on the team," Ireland said in a statement. "We didn't want to lose the ability to add someone as talented as David to our staff, so when he became available, we had to move quickly to bring him on board."

The Dolphins on Thursday confirmed the hiring of Lee, first reported earlier this week.

"In order to be successful in this league, it is imperative to get the most out of the quarterback position," Ireland said. "To do that, you not only need the right quarterback, but the right quarterbacks coach.

"It is critical to hire someone who understands the position and can develop players there, and David has the ability to do that."

The Dolphins may tap the Dallas pipeline again for their head coach. Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano is considered the front-runner, but talks are on hold while Dallas prepares for its opening playoff game Sunday against the New York Giants.

Sparano, Lee, Ireland and new Dolphins vice president of football operations Bill Parcells worked together in Dallas. Lee was on Parcells' staff with the Cowboys in 2003-06, then coached quarterbacks at the University of Arkansas last year.

"Bill and I are very familiar with David from our time working together in Dallas, and he is an outstanding coach," Ireland said. "He has a blueprint for success in developing quarterbacks, and is widely recognized for his teaching and coaching acumen."

In Lee's four years with the Cowboys, three quarterbacks threw for 3,000 yards in a season. A fourth, Tony Romo, went from being an undrafted college free agent in 2003 to a starter in 2006.

The Dolphins have tried 12 starters at quarterback since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season. They used three starters last season -- Trent Green, Cleo Lemon and rookie John Beck -- en route to a 1-15 season.

Coach Cam Cameron was fired Jan. 3 after one season with Miami. Most of his staff was also fired, including quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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