Found January 24, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Jeff Ireland holds one of the most scrutinized jobs in South Florida as general manager of the Miami Dolphins. Admitting hes in a big offseason for us, Ireland perhaps faces more pressure than at any point during his five years on the job. But every night he goes home, Ireland embraces another challenge raising 17-year-old autistic twin daughters Haley and Hannah. It grounds you, because you know theres something bigger than football, Ireland said before leaving for the Senior Bowl. Thats hard for me to say, because I live in a world where nothings been bigger than football my entire life. But when you have kids, you have a wife, and you have a family, you learn very quickly that that is your passion -- helping them, making sure they are provided for, and making sure they have everything they need. Most people have heard the term autism, though many cannot sufficiently define it. It is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills. Autistic people often are extremely intelligent, though they lack the ability to clearly express themselves and display repetitive behavior. Its estimated that 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) will be diagnosed with autism. When Ireland accepted the Dolphins GM job in 2008 and moved his family from Dallas to South Florida, he and wife Rachel relied greatly on Dan and Claire Marino. The Hall of Fame quarterback and his wife, parents of an autistic son, started the Dan Marino Foundation in 1992 with hopes of helping other families affected by autism and other developmental disabilities. The foundation has accomplished much in its 20 years, including partnering with Miamis Children Hospital to open the Dan Marino Center in Weston, Fla. The Center provides treatments and therapies for children with developmental disabilities. The next project is the planned 2014 opening of a vocational college in Fort Lauderdale. The Irelands will join the Marinos at Sun Life Stadium this Saturday morning for the Dan Marino Foundation WalkAbout Autism, a fundraising effort that generates awareness and crucial funds for autism services. Michael Marino, 24, was diagnosed when he was 3 and his father was quarterbacking the Dolphins. He now shows virtually no signs of being autistic, and works as a South Florida DJ. He also co-hosts a Sunday morning sports talk show on 560-AM WQAM. Although its hard to fathom, Dan Marino might be better known by future generations for the foundation and its affiliations than his football career. It seems crazy to think like that, but its the same way with the Joe DiMaggio Childrens Hospital, Mike Marino said. "There are people who dont know who Joe DiMaggio was as a baseball player but they know the hospital. As much as my Dad loves his playing career, I think he would take a lot of pride in the foundation being even more of his legacy that his playing career. Mike Marino recently joined the foundations board and is heavily involved with the formation of the vocational college. Somebody has got to be able to take the reins, Mike said. Its one of those things where my parents want me in on it now so can learn what were all about and I can pass that on. Ireland, too, has become a spokesperson for autism awareness and the Dan Marino Foundation. As the father of autistic teenagers, he understands the need for a learning facility for autistic young adults. Were no longer in the diaper stage, or the toddler stage. Weve got developing young ladies, said Ireland, who also has a son, Riley, 11, and daughter Annie, 6. So our whole phase of autism is a different phase. Were now trying to get them intertwined with the real world. Whereas it used to be trying to teach Haley and Hannah how to read, write and communicate, Ireland says not its about helping them understand money and how to balance a checkbook. They currently are high school sophomores at a specialized school."There are so many dynamics involved with teenage girls. You have puberty, you have teenagers and you have autism and you have all three things hitting at the same time,Ireland said. Sometimes you dont know, is that the autism talking or is that the 17-year-old back-talking teenager? Holding the title of Dolphins general manager fails to help in such situations. My girls dont care what I do, they dont, he said. Sometimes Im not even sure they know what I do. So when I walk in the door, Im just Dad, and thats a great thing.

Is Jake Long a goner in Miami?

  One of the many questions that the Miami Dolphins front office is facing is whether or not to re-sign Jake Long.  In Madden terms, Jake Long is a “big mauler” or a stalwart left tackle.  The Dolphins have paid Jake Long well over 60 million since his rookie deal in 2008. Jake Long can pass block and run-block quite well...when healthy. The pros for re-signing...

If I were Jeff Ireland……….Part 3 (Who to draft)

Alright Dolphins fans, this is the third and final installment of our offseason plan.  The Dolphins haven’t even gotten to the point where they have resigned any of their own free agents and we’re about to finish our full offseason plan.  Can you tell we’re anxious for the offseason to get underway?!  If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of our plans, you can click on here for...

Revis Island could be traded, but not to the Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have to make some tough decisions in the near future regarding their own players.  One player, that I’ve found to be pretty polarizing with the fan base is Sean Smith.  Some Dolphins fans think Smith is worth of a Pro Bowl birth, while others think the Dolphins should move on from the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.  Personally, I’m in between, but reside...

Dolphins lowball offer could lead to Jake Long’s departure

Jake Long has been a fixture at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins but lately he’s not feeling appreciated. Long agreed to a five-year, $57.75 million deal with the Miami Dolphins as the number one overall in the 208 NFL Draft. He is widely considered a top ten tackle, given his past performance and that he’s in the prime of his career, he wants to be compensated as a top 10 left tackle.

Dolphins will likely let Sean Smith test free agency

According to Armando Sagluero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith will look to strike it big in free agency and land a contract that will pay him $8-$10 million per season. Elite cornerbacks are expecting $10 million per season. Agents will be looking at Brandon Carr’s five-year $50 million deal with Dallas and Jason McCourty’s 5-year, $43 million deal to stay...

Brian Hartline will reportedly look to earn $5-$6 million per year

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline will look to earn $5-$6 million per year as he gets ready to hit the free agent market. The Dolphins will have to decide whether or not it makes sense for them to pay a number two wide receiver that kind of money when they still need a number one target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.    ...

Jeff Ireland says Jake Long's situation is a 'difficult, complicated' one

The Miami Dolphins will make many decisions on personnel this offseason, both in free agency and in the draft. But the most complicated decision involves one of their own expiring contracts.Miami must decide whether or not to re-sign former All-Pro left tackle Jake Long, who has been the team's best offensive player since he was drafted in 2008 and at one time seemed to be on...

Dolphins Low-Balling OT Jake Long In Contract Discussions?

The Dolphins reportedly made a “low-ball” contract offer to offensive tackle Jake Long during the season, according to Armando Salguero. “He’s one of those guys that likes the idea of being the best at what he does and one way he proves to everyone that he is is by being the highest paid at what he does,” one Dolphins source told Salguero recently. “Yeah, there...

'This is the year' Dolphins need to make personnel moves

After selecting who they hope to be their franchise quarterback last offseason in Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins' primary goal this offseason is to build a team around him that will set them up for long-term success.Fortunately, the Dolphins are in an ideal position to revamp their roster and do just that. Miami will have an estimated $45-$50 million in cap space to sign...

NFL Rumors: Former Miami Dolphins QB Pat White attempting comeback

News surfaced overnight that former Oakland Raiders quarterback Jamarcus Russell is attempting a comeback to the NFL. Another former quarterback with a short career is planning a comeback as well, former Miami Dolphins QB Pat White. White is three years removed from the NFL but showed up this week to meet with NFL executives attending the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. After leaving...

NCAA announces problems with UM probe

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- The NCAA has found what it calls "improper conduct" committed by former members of its own enforcement program during the Miami investigation, and will not deliver the long-awaited notice of allegations against the Hurricanes until an external review is completed. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the findings Wednesday. The sports governing...

NCAA announces problems with Haith probe

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) The NCAA has found what it calls "improper conduct" committed by former members of its own enforcement program during the Miami investigation, and will not deliver the long-awaited notice of allegations against the Hurricanes until an external review is completed. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the findings Wednesday. The sports governing...
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