Dolphins' Ross Calls Fan to Defend Team

Miami Dolphins owner called a season ticket holder to explain why the team has failed to improve this offseason

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Stephen Ross

    Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is so desperate to convince his fan-base that the team is doing everything it can to turn around the team that he has resorted to calling up a fan to achieve that end. Too bad he can't possibly call every one of the tens of thousands of Dolphins season ticket holders.

    According to the Sun Sentinel, Ross placed a phone call to one of the fans who attended a protest at Dolphins headquarters last week, a season ticket-holder named Jason Lawrence. Ross explained to Lawrence the reason the team traded star WR Brandon Marshall, also giving Lawrence an explanation why QB Matt Flynn spurned the Dolphins and signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead.

    "I was nervous as hell," Lawrence told the Sentinel. "I was shaking, and everything. I thought they were going to be upset."

    Ross said the Dolphins could only get a pair of third-round draft picks in exchange for Marshall because no other team was willing to take on the controversial receiver. "Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him," Lawrence said. Had the Bears not traded for him, the Dolphins "they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that, and got nothing." Ross also said Marshall was traded in order to protect team chemistry, not save money, Lawrence said.

    Additionally, Ross said the team declined to offer Flynn more money than the Seahawks will give him ($26 million over three years) because head coach Joe Philbin apparently did not think Flynn was worth that much money.

    "[Ross] goes, 'If my coach wanted Matt Flynn didn't you think he would be here?'" Lawrence said. "'If my coach said I want Matt Flynn as our starting quarterback next year he would be here, but I couldn't pay Matt Flynn $8 million to come here. If I end up getting him, it's a gamble … and I'm still drafting a quarterback. I'm still looking for another option."

    Lawrence summed up the conversation by recounting Ross' overall message. "I'm telling you right now I want to sit next to you and I want to beat my chest with you," he said. "I didn't buy this team to make money, or to run a business. I'm passionate. I want to win, I'm a winner."

    Ross can say all he wants, but that does not change one fact: His team is so beholden to past mistakes by general manager Jeff Ireland (like a huge portion of the salary cap being paid to offensive linemen) that no matter what anyone does, the Dolphins are years away from competing for a championship.

    Talk is cheap, as the saying goes, and the Dolphins' track record of screw-ups is what put Ross in a position where he needs to call a customer and provide reassurance. Ross may score a short-term PR win with this phone call to Lawrence. That won't mean anything if the Dolphins lose 10 games again in 2012, though.