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Hiring Marino makes such sense even Dolphins can do it

Peyton ManningJohn ElwayAlonzo MourningJonathan MartinJason TaylorTony GonzalezRyan Tannehill

Take the lay-up, Steve Ross.

Phone Dan Marino.

Tap in the six-inch-putt for your franchise.

Find Marino a role on your team.

This is such a no-brainer even a Dolphins team that's exhibited few brains lately shouldn't screw it up. Marino was cut from CBS on Tuesday in a traditional and generational swap of aging ex-athletes for fresh ex-athletes.

That's how Marino got the Sunday studio job immediately after retiring from the Dolphins. It's how he loses the gig now as newly retired Tony Gonzalez replaces him (and Shannon Sharpe). That's the TV game.

This was unfortunate news for Marino. But it's manna from heaven for a Dolphins organization covered in an aggressive stink since December. A little Eau d'Marino couldn't hurt, right?

Oh, he wouldn't correct the overriding problems. And let's be clear: Marino isn't general managerial material today. Maybe he never is.

But among the growing list of head-scratching issues of this Dolphins era is why Ross has never reached out to Marino or Jason Taylor beyond this silly committee to look into the Jonathan Martin affair (like we need another investigation?)

Ross should have gotten to know Marino and Taylor over the past few years. Know if they want to help the team. Know if they can help, too. Then he'd know what possible role either could fill today.

This isn't revolutionary. Look around town. The Heat found a front-office role for Alonzo Mourning. Jeff Conine doesn't just announce Marlins games, but walks in uniform around batting practice interacting with players.

The Panthers brought in Brian Skrudland in a small capacity and he has worked his way up to an assistant coach. Why wouldn't the Dolphins do the same with their top legends?

At the very least, Marino becomes an ambassador for the franchise. At best, he demonstrates the kind of skills that can help this franchise succeed.

Could Marino become John Elway, who leads Denver's organization? Who knows? But he certainly could provide an occasional word to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He could be a sounding board on how decisions would play out locally.

When the next Peyton Manning becomes a free agent, Marino could give a tour of the campus and talk to him, Hall-of-Famer-to-Hall-of-Famer. That's what Elway did for Manning in Denver. Manning said it helps.

It was in part because Marino called Manning that a Dolphins contingent involving Ross was given permission to fly to Indianapolis and granted a brief audience. That failed, of course. As has a lot of late.

Bottom-line: There's a role for Marino somewhere inside this team. Ross should see the value in that. Former owner H. Wayne Huizenga sure did a decade ago.

That turned into a small, silly chapter where Marino took an uncertain front-office role for about five minutes. He wasn't ready for a full-time job then. He was in a bizarre front-office sandwich involving a troubled Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman ("I don't know,'' Wannstedt said at Marino's news conference on how the roles would play out).

Times change. Situations do, too. All indications are Marino would welcome a conversation with Ross about a role with the team he once lead on the field.

Would it be a public-relations ploy? Sure. Sometimes such decisions are dumb. But has any team needed some good public-relations more than the Dolphins do now?

How would it go over in his opening news conference if Marino said, "I never won a title as a Dolphins player. My goal remains to win one as a Dolphin."

Forty-four years ago on Tuesday, the Dolphins announced the hiring of Don Shula as coach. That shifted the franchise. If you're looking for some comparison of that to Marino's possible hiring, you're living on another planet.

Marino won't solve the Dolphins problems. Maybe he can't help. But as of Tuesday he's unemployed. The Dolphins need help. How hard is it to add one-and-one together? Take the lay-up, Steve Ross. Pick up the phone.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Peyton ManningJohn ElwayAlonzo MourningJonathan MartinJason TaylorTony GonzalezRyan Tannehill
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