Ross details Ireland-Philbin tension

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
6:44
PM ET
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross admitted Tuesday that head coach Joe Philbin and former general manager Jeff Ireland had a falling out last season.

This is not a surprise as various media outlets, including ESPN.com, reported a late-season power struggle developing between Ireland on one side and Philbin and vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte on the other. Ross met with both parties after Miami's 8-8 regular season and determined it was best to get rid of Ireland.

Ross spoke about the Dolphins' internal issues for the first time publicly in 2014.

"I have a lot of confidence in Jeff, he's a good friend,” Ross explained. "But we need to have harmony within the organization. We have to think as one organization where everyone has respect for each other and operates with the same mindset at all times."

Miami hired new general manager Dennis Hickey from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the big requirements during Miami's general manager search was finding someone who can work alongside Philbin. It was clear after two seasons that Philbin and Ireland grew apart.

This is the second head coach with whom Ireland had a falling out. Ireland also had a well-publicized split with former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano before Sparano was fired.

Philbin is 15-17 in two years in Miami. He enters an important third season. The Dolphins had a drama-filled year in 2013 and must get on the same page in order to build a consistent winner.

"I was aware of it, and a lot was written about it, I think,” Ross said said of the internal strife between Miami's GM and coach. "It's something you don't address in the middle of the season. There was something I knew I had to addressed at the end of the season.”

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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