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Dolphins fire Sparano, Carl Peterson speculation spreads

The Dolphins have called a 4:15 press conference to announce the firing of coach Tony Sparano.

The team is not confirming this report, but two sources familiar with the issue say Sparano is gone and obviously will not finish out the final three games of the season.

The firing will be followed by the introduction of an interim coach. The interim coach is expected to be one who will fulfill the Rooney Rule aspect of NFL requirements for filling vacancies. That means the new interim coach will be a minority -- likely assistant head coach Todd Bowles.

Bowles is considered a legitimate candidate to coach an NFL team in the future and has already interviewed in Kansas City and Detroit when they had openings.

[UPDATE: Bowles will be the new interim coach]

Bowles will be granted an interview at the end of the season for the chance to succeed Sparano permanently -- although he will considered a longshot. The Dolphins want to hire a "star" head coach, sources have told me.

The possibilities?

Miami's new interim coach will be the first minority to coach the Dolphins.

In order of possibility in my view, Jeff Fisher, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher and then the rest of the field. The Dolphins would love Cowher. But I hear from different sources that Cowher wants to keep his options open, including remaining in television, and may not be enamored with the idea of coaching Miami.

Morever, the Dolphins are reportedly set to announce as early as today the hiring of Ross confidant Carl Peterson to be the club's executive vice president of football operations. The ESPN report suggests Peterson will basically take the role previously occupied by Bill Parcells in that he will oversee the incoming head coach and general manager Jeff Ireland, who will be retained for next year.

[UPDATE: Peterson is telling The Herald's Barry Jackson that the ESPN report is inaccurate.]