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Sparano house is for sale but he's not quitting

Coach Tony Sparano has a perfectly plausible explanation for putting his Davie, Fl. home on the real estate market.

"We're empty nesters," he said of he and his wife Jeanette. "When we moved into the house we had seven people living there. No it's only us two."

Understandable since his daughter Ryan Leigh, the youngest of the clan, moved away to college.

Sparano also says he and his wife love the water so, they're "moving to the beach."

But ...

Obviously the fact his home was put up for sale early this year, taken off the market, and then recently put back on the market suggests something deeper and more obvious than a desire to get closer to the water.

Tony Sparano isn't dumb. He knows his days as the Dolphins head coach are numbered. He's moving all right. He knows it. We know it.

It is starting to show more often. Remember his words to the game official during the overtime meeting with the Broncos on Sunday? A local CBS4 cameraman captured Sparano telling the game official he needed a replay on a touchdown and that if he didn't get one or an overturn of the call, "I'm getting fired."

So the writing is on the wall. Sparano has read it. And all that awaits is apparently when, not if, the shoe will drop.

Sad in many respects.

There has got to be another way. And there is. Look, Sparano has an agent. His name is Jimmy Sexton. He was at Sunday's game against Denver. He should be on the phone with the Dolphins, like, yesterday, trying to negotiate a buy-out for coach.

The fact is Sparano cannot quit because he would forfeit his salary due in 2012 and 2013 -- an estimated $4 million-plus. The truth is the Dolphins are going to be on the hook for that money regardless once owner Stephen Ross fires the coach -- be it during or after the season.

Why not try to negotiate an end to the charade and the embarrassment of a proud coach by doing a buy-out now? Why don't the Dolphins agree to pay most or all of Sparano's salary in exchange for the coach agreeing to step aside?

It would give Sparano a reprieve from the daily reports of which coach is next and when he's coming. It would give the Dolphins a chance to turn the page to someone and something new.

It probably will not happen. I know Sparano and he sees this idea as quitting. And he has no intention of quitting on his team. He has no intention of quitting on those he calls his "kids."

So into the next few weeks we will go -- no matter how painful they get.

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