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Philbin (safe according to source) fires Mike Sherman

The Dolphins have announced offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has been fired. I am also reporting that coach Joe Philbin is "definitely safe," according to a club source and will return for his third season with the Dolphins.

 “I would like to thank Mike for his contributions to the Miami Dolphins,” Philbin said in a statement released by the club. “Mike has been a mentor to me throughout my coaching career, dating back to 1979. He is a man of great integrity, dedicated to his family, his team, his players and his profession. On behalf of the entire Miami Dolphins organization I want to wish Mike and his family the very best in the future.”

Interesingly, Philbin did not wish to fire his "mentor." The coach had previously defended Sherman as an "excellent" football coach. But owner Stephen Ross wanted Sherman out after the Dolphins scored only one touchdown in the season's final two games when the playoffs were on the line.

Ross, however, could not actually fire Sherman as he had signed over hiring and firing power to Philbin in his contract. But obviously, rather than defy his boss, Philbin did as the owner wished.

In fulfilling his owner's desire to "relieve Sherman" of his duties, Philbin accomplished something very important: He solidified his own job status.

Ross had no desire to get rid of Philbin but might have been forced to do just that if the coach had refused to comply with his wishes. In complying, however, Philbin remains safe.

It is unclear if this is the one and only change to the Dolphins this offseason. There is still a chance the team may add a football czar. General Manager Jeff Ireland's status also has yet to be cemented by the team.

I reported in early December that Ross had assured Ireland of returning next season. Obviously, the collapse at the end of the season with the playoffs beckoning made that very less certain.