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Jeff Ireland will return for 2012, Sparano will not

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland is totally safe as of this moment. Tony Sparano is not.

I am reporting the Dolphins plan to let Ireland continue in his job with the team beyond this season. The plan is also to fire Sparano, although the team is adamant no final decision has been made on this front.

I know this as fact. Period.

So what's news here?

The Ireland stuff.

I already wrote in my column Sunday that Sparano was in grave danger of losing his job even if he won the final four games of the year. Sparano's team has since lost a 26-10 decision to the Philadelphia Eagles and so he will will not win out, which logically signals his end. A source has confirmed for me that end is now certain although the timing is still unclear.

Ireland is another story. He stays, barring some unexpected circumstance, regardless of who the new coach is or is not. It is as solid as something of this matter can be in the NFL. Ireland stays for 2012.

Owner Stephen Ross is convinced the Dolphins are a team that is underachieving despite considerable talent. Yes, Ross believes the roster needs some upgrading. But he also thinks Ireland, who has full control of the personnel department since October 2010, can do the job. (Bill Parcells was in charge of personnel from Jan. 2008 to October 2010.)

So Ireland stays once this season is over. And Tony Sparano does not.

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