Echoes of Lurie in Philbin's presser
Miami coach Joe Philbin, at the epicenter of the NFL's hottest scandal, spoke to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. Early on, he seemed to be setting forth the case for his own dismissal, but he didn't quit.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Remember that strange Jeffrey Lurie news conference at the end of the 2011 season, when the Eagles' chairman spent the first 10 minutes setting forth the case for firing Andy Reid, then didn't fire him?
I was reminded of that today when Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin took the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine. Philbin, you might have heard, is at the epicenter of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito mess, the Dolphins' organization's dysfunction laid bare last week by the Ted Wells report.
Philbin was hurriedly added to the morning's agenda the night before, as word got out that the Dolphins had brought head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill to Indianapolis, then fired him, apparently because O'Neill figured prominently in Wells' account of the corrosive culture of the Dolphins' locker room. Having Philbin speak apparently was an effort to reassure fans of the organization's stability. But Philbin seemed uncomfortable, shouting into the microphone, and he couldn't really explain a mess that basically seems unexplainable.
The Lurie part came in Philbin's opening remarks.
“I want everybody to know, I’m the one responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins,” Philbin said. He described the conditions described in the Wells report as "inappropriate and unacceptable."
But -- surprise, surprise -- Philbin didn't follow up those words with "and that's why I'm resigning as head coach." Instead, he vowed to be more "diligent, vigilant and visible."
Philbin said he didn't know of a lot of the goings-on when they were happening, learned about them as the controversy developed last fall. Philbin said no decision has been made yet on the Dolphins' plans for Incognito or Martin. the player Incognito is accused of basically harassing out of football.
"I wish I had seen some of it. Perhaps it would not have gotten to this point," Philbin said.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is said to be adamantly opposed to firing Philbin. But it isn't hard to wonder if Philbin today, like Lurie two years ago, might have just been delaying the inevitable.