Dan Marino, the most beloved player in the Dolphins’ long history, has finally — and officially — come home.
The franchise on Sunday made official news that broke Saturday night — that Marino has accepted a position in the Dolphins’ front office. He will serve as a special advisor to both owner Stephen Ross and CEO Tom Garfinkel.
Marino, the Hall of Fame quarterback who briefly served as the team’s senior vice president of football operations a decade ago, will have no formal role in the team’s personnel or coaching departments.
His primary involvement will be on the business side. However, he is willing to provide input whenever — and wherever — asked, football operations included.
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“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life, and I look forward to supporting the organization any way I can,” Marino said in a statement provided by the team. “Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I’m excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed.”
Added Ross: “Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins, and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way. Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history, and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here.”
Marino played 17 seasons for the Dolphins, leading the team to the playoffs 10 times. The Dolphins have been back in the playoffs on just three occasions since his retirement after the 1999 season. Marino holds 31 team and five NFL regular-season records, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Dolphins retired his No. 13 jersey in 2000. Marino is also a member of both the Dolphins Honor Roll and Walk of Fame.
Marino had been in talks with the franchise about a formal role for months, although his responsibilities are still not clearly defined. He has been an increasingly visible figure within the organization, popping in on practices and games, and representing the franchise in the Bahamas in the spring.
Marino was also part of the team’s stadium-deal closing argument to the Miami-Dade County Commission earlier this year. The deal passed by a 7-4 vote.
Not surprisingly, Marino’s role will be primarily on the business side, working with community ventures, ticket sales and other ventures. Unlike his abbreviated stint with the franchise in 2004, this is not believed to be a short-term hire.
Marino was present for the Dolphins’ preseason victory over the Cowboys on Saturday night. Among the takeaways from the game:
• The Dolphins plan to sign free agent kicker Jake Rogers after John Potter (hip) joined Caleb Sturgis (groin) on the injured list Saturday night, Fox Sports first reported. Rogers has not attempted a regular-season kick since entering the league in 2011.
Potter underwent tests on the injury Sunday, but as of late in the day the results had not been determined. The team plans to reevaluate the situation Monday morning and make a decision on how to proceed.
Potter had put significant pressure on Sturgis for the job before his injury. But as of late Saturday night, the Dolphins had no healthy option. They considered using Brandon Fields on what would have been a game-winning field goal late in regulation, but thought better of it.
• Knowshon Moreno just might end up as the Dolphins’ starting running back. After Lamar Miller struggled against the Falcons and Buccaneers, Moreno ran for 64 yards on 10 carries in his Dolphins debut on Saturday.
“We’re still evaluating, right up until we name our starters for the New England Patriots,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “We thought they played well.”
• The offensive line, with Shelley Smith as the starting right guard, showed marked improvement Saturday. The Dolphins combined for 98 rushing yards in their first two preseason games. Against the Cowboys, they had 200. Still, the team was not ready to declare Smith the starter over Dallas Thomas.
“We’ve tried to be physical every game,” Smith said. “That’s always our goal. Maybe guys are getting a little bit more comfortable with the scheme. We’ve been working hard every day trying to correct little things. I think every day we’re taking a step in the right direction.”
• The Dolphins’ special teams were brutal, with or without a kicker. They had a punt blocked but got bailed out because the Cowboys lined up illegally. Jarvis Landry fumbled a return but was able to recover it. And the Dolphins surrendered 160 yards to the Cowboys in the return game.
“It wasn’t good,” Philbin said. “You never, ever want to see a punt blocked. It’s one of the most damaging plays in football, I think. That was disheartening, and we were fortunate that we were able to overcome that because they called a penalty on Dallas. We have some work to do there, no doubt.”
• Ryan Tannehill didn’t play in the preseason finale last year, but Philbin wouldn’t say if he will keep his starter out when the Dolphins close the exhibition season against the Rams on Thursday night.
“It’s totally up to coach. I think we’re going to use this week in practice regardless if we’re playing in the game or not to prepare,” said Tannehill, whose final pass in the Cowboys game was intercepted. “And if we’re called, then we’ll be excited to play and tone up a little more, but it’s all in coach’s hands.”