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Dolphins owner says Parcells will stay

NEW York real estate billionaire Stephen Ross became majority owner of the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, completing his purchase of 95 percent of the franchise for US$1 billion.

Co-owner Wayne Huizenga retained a 5 percent interest.

Ross then addressed speculation he and Bill Parcells, the vice president of football operations, might not be hitting it off. The sale triggered a clause in Parcells' contract allowing him to leave and still receive the US$9 million-12 million remaining on the four-year contract he signed a year ago.

"Parcells is in charge," Ross said in a conference call. "He's staying, and I think we're very fortunate to have someone like Bill Parcells, who I think people have come to recognize as probably the best football mind in America."

Thanks to Parcells, Ross takes over with the team's fortunes on the upswing. When the first phase of his purchase was completed last February, the Dolphins were coming off a 1-15 season, worst in team history. Under the new Parcells regime, they improved to 11-6 this season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Broke his silence

Parcells broke his silence on Tuesday on the subject of his status. Scouting college players practicing for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, he spoke briefly with reporters and was asked if he planned to remain with the Dolphins.

"What does it look like I'm doing? What do your eyes tell you?"

When asked why he wouldn't commit outright to staying, Parcells said experience taught him never to rule anything out. He said if something happened to change his mind, he'd "hate to be called a liar."

But Parcells said he likes Ross and was not seeking a new contract.

"It's not about money," Parcells said. "I've got more than I can spend."

In February 2008, Ross bought 50 percent of the franchise, Dolphin Stadium and surrounding land from Huizenga, 71, for US$550 million, with an agreement to later become managing general partner.

Ross, 68, closed on the purchase of an additional 45 percent on Tuesday. That part of the agreement received pre-approval from the NFL in October.


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