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Dolphins settle on Cameron

Cam Cameron will try to succeed where Nick Saban failed -- with the Miami Dolphins.

Miami concluded a two-week coaching search yesterday, hiring Cameron, the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator the past five seasons.

"It's not going to be about any individual," Cameron said. "We're going to build a team here. You're going to see a football team."

Cameron signed a four-year contract to replace Saban, who left for Alabama after a 6-10 season. Saban missed the playoffs in both years with Miami, whose roster needs an overhaul to fix an aging defense and a feeble offense.

"We're going to do everything we can to bring the people of South Florida a championship," Cameron said.

Cameron went 18-37 at Indiana, then directed a high-powered attack in San Diego. Led by the NFL's MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers ranked fourth in the league in offense this season and finished 14-2, best in the NFL.

"Good for Cam," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think he'll be a very fine, winning NFL coach.

Cameron will be the Dolphins' fourth coach in nine seasons. It has been a frustrating stretch of instability for a franchise that had the same coach -- Don Shula -- for 26 years.

The Dolphins interviewed at least 12 other candidates in their most extensive coaching search since the franchise's first season in 1966.

Cameron, 45, inherits one of the NFL's largest coaching staffs and general manager Randy Mueller, who might be given more responsibility under the new regime. He also might inherit defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who was offered a new three-year contract in that role last week but had yet to sign the deal believed to be worth at least $8.1 million.

"There's a lot of good things in place here, and that became very clear to me early on," Cameron said.

As for Cameron's replacement in San Diego, Schottenheimer said he'll take a few days and consider candidates, starting with members of the current staff.

Sarkisian pulls out
Southern California assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian withdrew from the Oakland Raiders' coaching race yesterday, just days after apparently emerging as the favorite to succeed Art Shell. Sarkisian simply said he preferred to stay at USC . . . The Carolina Panthers hired former New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis as their new secondary coach. Lewis, who was fired by the Giants last week, replaces Rod Perry, one of three Panthers coaches fired Monday . . . Former Seattle and Oakland assistant Bob Casullo was hired as tight ends coach by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Casullo replaces Ron Middleton, who left Tampa Bay for a position at Alabama . . . Eagles coach Andy Reid said he canceled a news conference by Donovan McNabb because he wants the injured quarterback to concentrate on his rehab.

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