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Some P.R. issues also football issues

The Dolphins, like any other NFL team, can suffer two basic kinds of black eyes. The first and most important one is a black eye to the football team itself -- be it in the form of an injury, or a loss, or anything that affects competitive advantage.

The second much less important hit, in my opinion, is the public relations and marketing hit a team might take from time to time.

The Dolphins today are dealing with two situations that offer both a P.R. hit and possible football hit. And I'm here to discuss what you care about: The football hit.

The situations? Diverse as they are, they involve the possible hiring of a new offensive lineman and the celebrating of a national championship college team.

Let's deal with the college team thing first. The Dolphins over the weekend announced that on Oct. 23, in conjunction with the Denver Broncos visit to Sun Life Stadium, they would welcome at least 20 former Florida Gators players, coach Urban Meyer, the Gator band, and that crocodile mascot thing to Sun Life to celebrate the Gators' 2008-2009 national title team.

If you listen to my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, you know this news got Hurricanes fans all angry because they view it as a betrayal by the Dolphins of the Hurricanes, who happen to be the Saturday afternoon tenants at Sun Life Stadium.

It is a marketing and P.R. issue because the Dolphins are today dealing with some irrate Hurricanes fans calling and e-mailing complaints.

I'm not concerned with that. That's intangible stuff.

What concerns me is football. Just football.

And this idea is bad from a tangible football aspect. Understand that Tim Tebow plays for the Denver Broncos. Well, he rides the bench for the Denver Broncos. That's not the point. The point is, the Dolphins on Oct. 23 could be welcoming into their stadium a sizable number of Gators fans, many of whom I imagine will want to see the guy that helped them to one national title and led them to the other do well.

A lot of those Gator fans, who otherwise might not attend a Dolphins game, just might find themselves cheering for Tebow -- who plays on the Broncos. And they might find themselves rooting for Tebow's team -- the Broncos.

So the Dolphins, a team that was 1-7 at home last season, might be unknowingly welcoming folks that will be rooting against the Dolphins that day. That is not exactly maximizing the home field advantage.

That can, to whatever small or large degree, affect Miami's football team and even work against the home team. That makes it a football issue that goes to the heart of competitive advantage.

On another front, you no doubt are already aware the Dallas Cowboys today released center Andre Gurode. He is a five-time Pro Bowl player. It was not an easy decision for the Cowboys -- certainly tougher than the cutting of Marc Colombo.

And now, as they do with most veterans that get cut, the Dolphins will consider their options. They will weigh whether Gurode might upgrade their troubled offensive line and decide whether to try and add the player.

This presents a football issue and a marketing and P.R. issue.

The P.R. issue? The fact is most Dolphins fans I interact with are sick and tired of the Dolphins picking up former Dallas Cowboys players. Many of them have not panned out, with most fans pointing to Akin Ayodele, Pat McQuistan, Cory Procter, Keith Davis, and Nate Jones as examples of that.

Obviously, Jason Ferguson worked out (for a time), Lou Polite has worked out, and Anthony Fasano has worked out (when his hands don't betray him). The jury is still out on Colombo and Kevin Burnett.

No matter. Many Miami fans are just sick of the Dolphins hiring Cowboys retreads.

So the possibility of hiring another Dallas castoff in Gurode is an emotional issue to folks. It is a P.R. question.

But again, I don't care about the P.R. aspect.

I care about football. And again, this is also a football issue.

As everyone is aware the Miami offensive line is coming off a bad game. When coach Tony Sparano growled their performance against Tampa Bay "wasn't good enough," he was being kind.

So do the Dolphins add a Gurode to upgrade that line?

I hope not.

To begin, Miami's biggest problem is on the right side of the line where right guard Vernon Carey seemingly hasn't gotten comfortable with his new spot and right tackle Colombo just yielded two sacks in the Tampa game.

So even if adding Gurode adds a good player, it doesn't directly add a player at either position Miami needs help. Yes, Gurode played guard early in his career. But he played it so poorly, he was nearly cut. It wasn't until he was moved to center by Bill Parcells that his career took off.

But the Dolphins have a starting center. Mike Pouncey is a big investment. He has played every snap this preseason at center. He is a center. The Dolphins are invested in making him into a good one.

The football question is do they abandon that idea for now to bring in Gurode to play center and move Pouncey to guard? The move likely improves your unit a bit in that it adds experience at center, adds more agility at guard and creates a competition at right tackle between Colombo and Carey.

But it retards Pouncey's progress as a center. It practically changes the entire dynamic of the Miami line, thus erasing whatever chemistry that line had built the past four weeks or so. The move also reeks of desperation and is a sign that suggests the team didn't get it right in moving Carey and signing Colombo in the first place.

Do the Dolphins do it? Do they add Gurode?

It's a P.R. question. But it is also a significant and serious football question.