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Jeff Ireland: The interview, the Wilson flap

I got the opportunity to speak with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland one-on-one Saturday night after his work was mostly done with the draft and the adding of priority free agents.

That conversation gave me a better understanding of exactly how it is the Dolphins attack the draft when Ireland and Bill Parcells are sitting in the war room together. I wrote about that as part of my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald.

Another part of the column, by the way, tells you how Ireland seemed to be getting more comfortable even as this draft was proceeding. He actually made jokes when he was in front of the media. The guy was cool.

But we're not 100 percent there yet.

This interview gave me the opportunity to ask about a topic that's been bothering me for a while now:

I wanted to know why it was Ireland seemingly misled at the Indianapolis Combine on the subject of Gibril Wilson. As you know, everyone assumed Wilson was a goner after a season in which he played poorly and cost Miami chances to win at least two games -- Indianapolis and New Orleans.

But Ireland went to the Combine and in speaking with the media -- to his credit, against the wishes of Parcells -- defended Wilson so vehemently that it seemed like Wilson was coming back.

"We have our evaluation of Gibril Wilson," Ireland said at the time. "We know what kind of player he's capable of being. I think he's going to be a very good player for the future. He was disappointed in his play last year. He will tell you that. I think he can play better. We'll just have to see. I think he will."

Of course, everyone assumed Ireland meant Wilson would play better for the Dolphins. Bad assumption. The Dolphins cut Wilson when the new league year opened in March.

"I didn't say anything that was wrong," Ireland told me during our interview. "I didn't say anything that was false. If you read the transcript, I said he's going to be a good player in the future. I knew what I was saying. You know, he's a player on my team. And I'm going to defend a player on my team. I'm not going to say anything else bad out there. I do believe he's going to be a good player in the future. I like the kid. It was probably not the right position for him. That's obvious now. But I did believe what I was telling you. I was telling the truth.

"I just wasn't giving you every thought in my head."

Fair enough. It wasn't Ireland's fault that folks like me made an assumption. As Ireland told me in another part of the interview, every draft mistake his makes is a lesson he learns.

Count this a lesson learned for yours truly.

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