Tony Sparano often texted me during his time as Dolphins head coach, sometimes to suggest columns, sometimes to criticize my columns, sometimes to thank me for columns or blogs. I reached out to him the past two days after his firing and he has not returned my texts.
That's fine. I get it.
He's an emotional guy. He's hurt. He probably doesn't understand that I had to write about his eroding job status -- because that's my job -- when that was the last thing he wanted in the newspaper.
But several people have told him he needs to make some sort of public statement to close the Dolphins chapter on his career. As he apparently doesn't want to speak or isn't ready to speak to the media, he's doing the next best thing:
He just released a statement through his agent, Jimmy Sexton.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Miami Dolphin organization, my players and coaches and our fans for all the help they gave me during my time in Miami. It was an honor and a privilege to have been the head coach for such a storied franchise as the Miami Dolphins. Visiting with Coach Shula before games, getting to know the Hall of Famers and so many other great Dolphin alumni, and being surrounded by the team’s tradition every day of the year are memories that will stay with me forever.
"I can’t say enough about our players -- I love and appreciate them all and I value the effort they gave me from the very first moment I walked in the door. They practiced and played hard every day, and always put the success of the team ahead of themselves. It was a joy to work with these special men, and no one can ask for more than what they gave me. For this they will always have my gratitude, and I am proud to have coached them. My coaching and support staff were wonderful -- I’ve never been around a better group of guys. There is no way I can thank them for their commitment and their loyalty. We worked hard together to reach a common goal and I appreciate their sacrifice and dedication.
"And finally, my wife Jeanette and I want to thank our great fans here. They made us feel at home the day we moved down and welcomed us with open arms. We enjoyed making so many friends and are grateful for the opportunities they gave us to contribute to the South Florida community. It’s a special place with special people, and we appreciate all their warmth and friendship. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported me during my tenure with the Dolphins. It was a special time in my life, and I’m looking forward to continuing my coaching career very soon.”
Coach is taking the high road. He's showing future employers he's a classy guy. He's boiling with venom toward Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross, which he does not mention in his statement, but not showing any of that because, well, what is that going to accomplish?
Sparano never threw players under the bus even when they deserved it. He's not throwing the organization under the bus even though some members of his family have been told they're no longer allowed around the Dolphins facility for any reason whatever.
Good move by coach. Just as he was advised.