He got along in the interviews with coach Joe Philbin, which sounded like job requirement No. 1. And he spent 18 years working up from the bottom in Tampa Bay, so he appreciates this chance to be the Dolphins general manager.
"I'm going to work to make this work,'' Dennis Hickey said.
And that was it. Those were the only crumbs for Dolphins fans to hang their hope on Tuesday.
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Hickey may become the greatest general manager this team ever had. He may stock this roster with more Hall of Fame players than the five Joe Thomas did in its expansion years.
But the truth is he was the team's fourth GM choice, at best. And, besides, fans are numb from the parade of hopefuls over the last decade standing in the exact spot he did at his introductory news conference and say much of what he did.
"We want a tough, smart, physical football team,'' he said.
That was almost Tony Sparano's exact slogan.
"I like to draft captains, because if you want leadership, they're proven leaders,'' he said.
Bill Parcells did that, too.
"You build with one good decision at a time,'' he said.
This isn't Hickey's fault. He was asked to give glimpse of who he is. This was more a story about the franchise he hopes to help.
When's the last time the Dolphins made a decision at the top that made you cheer? It wasn't the hiring of coach Philbin two years ago. It wasn't the keeping of General Manger Jeff Ireland at the same time.
Really, you have to go back to 2008, when Parcells was brought aboard, to get excited about something that happened with the hierarchy of this team. And how did that work out?
The strangest part of Tuesday was how it affirmed why this franchise looks so shaky at the top. Team owner Steve Ross related how Philbin and former Ireland didn't get along, as has been reported.
"I was aware of it,'' he said. "You don't address it in the middle of the season. It was something I had to address at the end of the season."
Ross also said he has heard the general findings of Ted Wells' NFL-backed investigation into the Jonathan Martin espisode. Yeah, that's coming soon. Just as Martin was in a snippet of a TV interview Tuesday night.
Asked if Martin or Incognito would return to the Dolphins, Ross said, "I don't believe so … Well, I can't say. Let me retract that."
Uh, too late. Not that anyone expected Martin to return. He was awful at tackle, even before you get to how he'd fit back in the locker room.
But even on a day that was supposed to be about turning the page, it was more about the rampant dysfunction of this franchise that caused change at the top. Or at least the change of Ireland. Why was Philbin protected from prospective general managers?
"I'm the owner,'' Ross said.
His team. His decisions. No one dispute that fact. It's the outcome of those decisions that keep looking questionable.
At the Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday in New York, Denver receiver Wes Welker sat at a podium and said, "It's so hard to get here."
Tell us about it. Welker was a Dolphin seven years ago. The wheels were spinning then. They're still spinning, too. Maybe it's a bad luck. Probably it's bad decisions stacking up, year after year..
But here we go again. Ross just had his draft for the guy who will run the drafts. And, by draft lingo, Hickey would be termed a, "reach."
But there are no sure things when it comes to drafts and even less ways to gauge new general managers. Maybe Hickey works out. Maybe he succeeds where so many have failed.
Ross spent a lot of time talking about the new GM's need to be "married at the hip with the coach." How about just drafting a few good players?