"You talkin' to ME?!?!?" (Getty Images)Things have not gone very well for the Miami Dolphins since Jeff Ireland took over as the team's general manager in 2008. That first Wildcat-inspired winning season, in which the Fins took the AFC East in a surprise coup, has been followed by three full seasons with a total of 20 wins.
In that time, Ireland has become "famous" for asking current Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute in a pre-draft interview, botching the team's quarterback situation so badly that Peyton Manning didn't even want to visit Miami in the 2012 offseason, and looking like quite the goof in the the most recent edition of "Hard Knocks" that featured the team.
Fans have been apoplectic for a while now, and a few organized a "Fireland" protest in March, but Ireland has managed to keep his job. That may change if Ireland keeps going after the fans, though -- owner Steve Ross seems PR-conscious enough to take what recently happened between Ireland and one fan pretty seriously.
That fan caught Ireland in the concourse of Miami's Sun Life Stadium during the Dolphins' 35-13 win over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. After Ireland signed autographs and took pictures with fans, "Sean" told Ireland, "We need you to fire yourself." Ireland patted the fan on the shoulder, said "Good one," and called him an "ass----" as he walked away.
"I don't begrudge the guy for not appreciating what I had to say," Sean told a Miami radio station. "I can't tell you I wouldn't respond any differently if someone said I should fire myself. By the same token, I'm not the general manager of a professional football team.
"I feel like I expressed an opinion he probably needed to hear."
Once that story broke, Ireland called Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald and gave his side of the story.
"It did happen at halftime and I was going back to my booth after seeing my wife and I did talk to several fans that were very nice," Ireland said. "But as I'm walking back this guy introduces himself to me and says I should fire myself.
"It caught me off-guard. I just turned and walked away, but I did say the word. I regret I used the word I used. I thought I was using it under my breath. I guess I kind of said it loud enough that he could hear it. I literally said it under my breath. At the time I felt I handled the situation pretty good. Probably muttered it a little too loud. I regret that I said anything."
Per our friends at CBS Sports' Eye on Football, one enterprising soul has turned the entire episode into a fun little T-shirt:
We doubt Ross is laughing about the whole thing. Perhaps Ireland can excuse himself to the team's owner by claiming that the incident happened at halftime, and the Dolphins did come back from a 10-7 deficit after the fact.
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