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Peterson, Ireland running separate coaching searches in Miami

Carl Peterson, longtime associate of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and former president of the Kansas City Chiefs, has long been rumored to take that same position in Miami and help restructure the organization.

And, according to sources, that still could be the case, assuming Peterson can land the coach he wants.

Peterson is spearheading the effort to court Jeff Fisher, who interviewed Tuesday in Miami, though numerous general managers and people involved in coaching searches believe the former Tennessee Titans boss will join the St. Louis Rams. If Peterson can't grab Fisher, then the likelihood of him formally joining the Dolphins is minimal, the sources said.

Peterson was with Fisher in Miami on Tuesday, shown on television in Ross' helicopter. However, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the Dolphins' hiring process, Peterson has no role whatsoever in the interviewing process of other candidates.

Current general manager Jeff Ireland has compiled a list of less-experienced and less-powerful candidates whom he's interviewing with Ross. Interim coach Todd Bowlesinterviewed for the full-time job Monday, and Chicago Bears special teams coach Dave Toub arrived in Miami on Tuesday to have dinner with team officials, then continue his interview with a trip to the team facility Wednesday.

Ross and Ireland also met with Fisher while he was in Miami. But Peterson isn't even listed on Toub's interview itinerary, according to sources.

So, in essence, the Dolphins are leading two different but parallel searches. If one of Ireland's candidates is hired, then several sources said there's little chance Peterson has a role with the team. If Peterson were to grab Fisher (and sources mentioned Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett as another candidate Peterson supports), then not only could Peterson take a team president position, but Ireland's status might end up in doubt, with Peterson considering bringing several of his former personnel people with him to Miami from Kansas City.

Should the Dolphins not land Fisher, the team will try to keep Bowles on its defensive staff, sources said, but other teams are eyeing him for head-coaching and coordinator openings.

This marks the second consecutive offseason the Dolphins have conducted an unusual coaching search. Last January, Ross and team officials traveled across the country in an attempt to land Jim Harbaugh -- then at Stanford -- all while Tony Sparano still was under contract as the Dolphins' coach.

Harbaugh chose the San Francisco 49ers, Sparano received an extension to his contract and then was fired in-season, leading to this vacancy.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @jasonlacanfora.

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