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Does the family side of Ireland change your perspective?

I saw a side of Jeff Ireland over the weekend that I wasn't familiar with. I saw him put his youngest girl Annie on his shoulders like dads put their kids on their shoulders to see parades. I saw his pride in his only boy Riley. I listened to Rachel Ireland, the Dolphins general manager's wife, talk of how they met and how Ireland cared for her when she was in an auto accident soon after they met.

He asked her to marry him three months after they met. As I write in my column today, she was in a wheelchair when he proposed.

My column is not about the relationship Ireland and his wife share, although it does touch on it. That relationship seems strong from the outside. It has to be.

Because my column is about the Ireland twins and the struggles and fight and fallout that caused by the autism that attacked them when they were two years old.

MandoMarinoIreland
I spent time with the Irelands (and Dan Marino as you can see in the photo) during this weekend's Dan Marino Foundation Walkabout for Autism at Sun Life Stadium. Ireland told me he's on the road for the Dolphins 150 to 175 days per year -- scouting, at bowls, at league meetings, at the combine, at player workouts. I've dealt with that side of Jeff Ireland. The General Manager side.

I hadn't dealt too often with the guy I saw over the weekend. The father. The husband. The guy who got a call when he was at the East-West Shrine game from his wife telling him to come home.

Three of the children had Influenza A. Annie had a fever of 105 and it wasn't coming down. Two others were throwing up. The nanny had gone home for the evening and Rachel couldn't get a hold of anyone to watch the other kids.

It was time to head to the hospital so Rachel called Ireland, who was in Tampa for the game. 

"I was taking them all the kids with me so I said by the time I get them all packed up and out the door, you need to be driving across Alligator Alley and come get the other kids so they don’t have to spend the night in the hospital with me," Rachel said. "And he came home.”

What else is a father to do, right?

“That doesn’t happen very often so when she makes that call, it’s a big deal," Ireland told me. "She can balance a lot. We sit there an argue for a second and then I realize it’s serious and I come."

We don't think of football players as people. They are guys on a TV screen that are chiseled and strong and fast. We don't often see their human side behind that helmet.

We don't think of coaches or general managers as people. They're the guys pacing the sideline or making trades from behind a curtain. And all we seem to care is if they get results. We don't much care if their children are sick, or their marriage is strong, or their twins twins have autism.

Or do we.

Look, many of you are very hard on Ireland. Your reasons for that, I assume, have to do with his work in bringing a winner to the Dolphins. But some of the criticism  is personal and cruel.

So now that you've gotten to know the Ireland family better are you as likely or less likely to take shots at the Miami GM?

Remember, professional accountability and criticism is inbounds. But can you agree with me, personal cracks are out of bounds?

Comments

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come on armando break the marino story.lol.
now we all kno y the dumb axx got a 13 on his wonderlic,
what a morooooooon.
lmao

Ireland did pretty well last Year at #1 and # 2 with THill and JMart. Both with big upsides physically AND intellectually. The rest were iffy to downright bad.

Hmm...

Don't forget about Miller from the 4th round. That guy has some upside. Also, I would certainly put Pouncey as an on the cusp of elite from the year before. That guy is a beast and still hasn't reached his ceiling.

Lamar Miller, has great speed and strenght, however, I'm not sure he can learn how to pick and hit the hole at the precise time. Look at D. Thomas. Also, he's from UM, not sure about his attitude either.

I suppose that Ireland has done enough money to retire and take care of his family. That would make a service to both his family and the team.
Salguero, I suppose the sympathy you ask for us to have towards Ireland is the same Ireland had when interviwing D.Bryan and asked him about his mother.
Now, that you and Ireland have become friends, it's impossible for you to recognize the incompetence of this fellow. I'm sorry for his girls, but there are thousends of people like the Irelands, except that they earn 1/1000 or so less than Irelands do.
Have you interviewed tha families of the players fired by Ireland ?
Salguero, you're mixing things in the cheapest and despicable way. This is precisely like the politicians do. No doubt, you're one of the worst journalists in sports.

A multitude of factors in deciding to select a Player. Suitability to the Sport and to your System, physical + intellectual Ability, desire, attitude, if they are Gay or not, ad infinitum...

Are you gay, Manti?

billcale....the one thing skewed in those figures is that he is picking mediocre players that have the opportunity to play on a sub .500 level team, whereas they would not be drafted by nor get the playing time with a better team. Those stats are a bit misleading. If a team stinks as badly as we have the past 4-5 years (sans the fluke of Bradyless 08' - and it proved a fluke by reverting right back to crapola the next year)it shouldn't be that difficult to find players that can come in & compete for jobs, hence his overall draft success #'s look better than they would had he drafted these very same players for NE, SF, GB, etc. - & their team success rate would have slipped markedly.

Amando,
When someone launches a personal attack against someone it says more about the person making the attack than the one receiving it. People do it mainly because they are trying to be humorous I guess....but show themselves to be morons. I don't know Ireland well at all to say he is a great guy or is simply fooling everyone. I rely on reporters like you to give insight. Whether Ireland continues as GM going will be based on well the Dolphins perform....as it should.

Armando,

Of course personal attacks are out of bounds. His work with the Dolphins and his personal life are two completely different things.

I can't really ever recall anyone personally attacking Ireland. All I ever see or hear are people complaining about his work and how he is not the best fit as a GM for the Dolphins.

Most of the jokes I have seen come from his interactions with players such as Dez Bryant and/or the fans themselves.

This is another one of your non football related posts that offers some unique insight, Armando. And it happens to be someone high up in the Dolphin Organization.

I like that you are not afraid to discuss the more human aspects of the people that make up this franchise. I have a son that is Autistic so it hits home for me to read something pertaining to that challenge.

I rank this right up there with the emotional eulogy you posted regarding your mother's passing away a few years back, Armando.

I read your articles all the time but don't have the time I use to have to respond, anymore. But I had to say something about piece.

Thanks for sharing this Armando. Perhaps exposing this aspect of Ireland the man, husband and father, will make him seem less aloof and indifferent to us fans. He is a human being with daily struggles like the rest of us. And what you eloquently said here, speaks well of his character and makeup.

Now let's hope he can get it right this off season and bring in the right play makers to make Miami competitive in the years to come.

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