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Ireland says Ricky's coach criticism not an issue

Jeff Ireland was on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, Friday morning and we discussed several topics of interest to Dolphins fans.

One topic that interests me is the movement we're about to see at the running back position. Both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents and it is unlikely both will return to the Dolphins for 2011. The truth is, it's possible neither return to the Dolphins in 2011.

But because Ireland talked about the possibility of one coming back during his meeting with the print media in Mobile, Ala. earlier this week, I was curious to know if Ricky Williams basically eliminated himself from contention by being critical of teammate Brandon Marshall and head coach Tony Sparano in the days following the end of the 2010 season -- a path that led Joey Porter straight out the door during the 2010 offseason. 

"Oh, I don't think so," Ireland said. "I look at the production on the field more than anything else. I mean, Ricky came out and said some things that I think he tried to come back and tried to apologize for. I know Ricky. I know Ricky's family. I  know what Ricky's about. He's a very passionate football players just as much as I am a football guy, as much as Tony is a football guy. When you've got a lot of passion involved with people coming on the radio, sometimes things come out the wrong way and maybe that's the case with Ricky."

Williams, making his paid appearance on 560-WQAM, took Marshall to task for ... well, for being honest about his displeasure with some coaches. After criticizing Marshall for doing that during the season, Williams then showed his displeasure with Sparano.

"A team takes on the personality of the head coach," Williams said. "I think the way we're coached, Tony goes through a lot of effort to show us the things that it takes to win football games: not turning the ball over, converting third downs, scoring in the red zone. He spent a lot of time saying 'If you do these things you win.' Sometimes, I feel like he does it a little bit too much.

"My personal opinion is if you have the right attitude that 'You guys are going to win,' then all that other stuff takes care of itself."

Williams tried to walk back those comments days later when he realized he might have cut himself off at the knees if he wanted to return to the Dolphins. Apparently that recanting of his comments has worked, as far as Ireland is concerned.

I asked Ireland on my show on 640 Sports here in South Florida, what factors he will weigh as he decides which, if either, of his two running backs get re-signed. I asked if durability, age, salary would be the deciding factors.

Ireland said it doesn't necessarily have to be that he signs one of the two guys. He might not -re-sign either.

"Those are just thoughts," he said. "I mean, that's not exactly 100 percent the plan. Those are thoughts. I'm thinking about doing that. All the things you just mentioned, you have to take into consideration. I've had some talks with both guys. Nothing serious about contract discussions or anything, but we've had some innuendos that we need to talk about some of those things from both agents' standpoint.

"But we're not very far down that path right now with either one of them. There are certainly thoughts and you have to take all things into consideration when making those decisions and we're just getting down to the grind and will start making some hardcore decisions here as we go along."

By the way, do not discount the Dolphins looking to Lex Hilliard for a more significant role. I'm told the new offensive staff is intrigued by his potential.

If you want to hear the entire 14-minute interview with Ireland, click here and then go to the Armando and the Amigo podcast for the 9 o'clock hour. If not, I'll update here later today on what Ireland said about the Pat White failure and the Cameron Wake success.