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Tuna helper Sparano now a big fish

TONY SPARANO Lands Dolphins job TONY SPARANO Lands Dolphins job
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Associated Press / January 17, 2008

Discussing his new job as Miami Dolphins coach, Tony Sparano sounded like Tony Soprano.

"I'm just happy to be part of the family," Sparano said.

The family includes his mentor, Bill Parcells, and general manager Jeff Ireland, who are transforming their new team into the Miami Cowboys.

The 46-year-old Sparano is the latest transplant from Dallas. He was the Cowboys' assistant head coach before accepting an offer yesterday to rejoin Parcells and Ireland.

The trio worked together in Dallas when Parcells was head coach in 2003-06.

"I know what the people here are capable of, and I'm excited about that," Sparano said at a news conference.

Parcells sat in a corner of the room, smiling occasionally like a proud papa. He declined to meet with reporters, leaving the talk to his protégés.

"When Bill and I discussed what we were looking for in a head coach, we talked about one of high character," Ireland said. "We wanted someone who understood how to develop young players, one who could instill a culture that's all about winning.

"We think we found that guy. We know we found that guy."

The hiring had been anticipated since Parcells fired Cam Cameron, who went 1-15 in his first year as an NFL head coach. Of the four candidates Miami interviewed, Sparano was the only one with ties to the new regime.

The Dolphins can thank the Giants for expediting their hiring of a coach. Sparano became available when the Cowboys lost their playoff game to New York Sunday.

Complaint withdrawn

Authorities in Georgia said a woman who accused suspended Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones of hitting her has withdrawn her petition to have him arrested. A clerk in the Warrants Division said the petition of Wanda S. Jackson had been withdrawn.

Neither Jackson nor Jones's attorneys returned calls seeking comment.

Jackson, an attorney, said in her filing that she was in the Body Tap strip club's office Jan. 3 when an angry Jones accused managers of stealing his money and bracelet. Jackson said she was watching the confrontation when Jones "sucker-punched" her.

Last month, Jones pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge related to a strip club shooting in Las Vegas that left a club manager paralyzed.

Schonert promoted

Turk Schonert was promoted to offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills after serving as the team's quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. He replaces Steve Fairchild, who recently became Colorado State's coach after two seasons with the Bills. Schonert inherits an offense ranked 30th in the league the past two seasons. The 51-year-old was an NFL quarterback for 10 seasons before becoming a coach. This will be his 13th season as an assistant and first as a coordinator. The Bills also promoted Alex Van Pelt to quarterbacks coach, Eric Studesville to running game coordinator/running backs coach, and Sean Kugler to offensive line coach . . . The Kansas City Chiefs hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey to be the offensive coordinator. Gailey will try to turn around one of the NFL's weakest offenses. He replaces Mike Solari, who took the Chiefs from being one of the league's top offenses to one of the worst in two years. Kansas City ended the season with a 4-12 record and on a nine-game losing streak after scoring only 226 points, 70 fewer than any Kansas City team has scored in 30 years . . . The Titans were granted permission to talk to Denver assistant head coach Mike Heimerdinger, a day after dismissing offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher hired Heimerdinger away from the Broncos to be his offensive coordinator in 2000 and let him leave in 2005 for the same job with the New York Jets . . . Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said he never considered firing coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney, and is convinced the duo can put the struggling franchise back in the playoffs . . . The Atlanta Falcons, looking for a new head coach, met with Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for the second time.

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