Miami Dolphins' head coach Tony Sparano was fired on Monday afternoon, and for the past few days, he has declined all opportunities to make a public statement. The assumption from Dolphins beat reporters is that he was too emotional to speak, and that this news took him by surprise. Everyone knew his job was in danger, but the common assumption was that the Dolphins would wait until the end of the season before making a decision. As it turns out, the Chiefs forced their hand.
Sparano did recently release a statement through his agent, though, and he says all the right things. He's gracious and thankful for the opportunity the Dolphins gave him, and he's hoping to find another coaching opportunity going forward.
Here's his full statement, as provided by the Miami Herald:
"I want to take this opportunity to thank the Miami Dolphin organization, my players and coaches and our fans for all the help they gave me during my time in Miami. It was an honor and a privilege to have been the head coach for such a storied franchise as the Miami Dolphins. Visiting with Coach Shula before games, getting to know the Hall of Famers and so many other great Dolphin alumni, and being surrounded by the team's tradition every day of the year are memories that will stay with me forever.
"I can't say enough about our players -- I love and appreciate them all and I value the effort they gave me from the very first moment I walked in the door. They practiced and played hard every day, and always put the success of the team ahead of themselves. It was a joy to work with these special men, and no one can ask for more than what they gave me. For this they will always have my gratitude, and I am proud to have coached them. My coaching and support staff were wonderful -- I've never been around a better group of guys. There is no way I can thank them for their commitment and their loyalty. We worked hard together to reach a common goal and I appreciate their sacrifice and dedication.
"And finally, my wife Jeanette and I want to thank our great fans here. They made us feel at home the day we moved down and welcomed us with open arms. We enjoyed making so many friends and are grateful for the opportunities they gave us to contribute to the South Florida community. It's a special place with special people, and we appreciate all their warmth and friendship. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported me during my tenure with the Dolphins. It was a special time in my life, and I'm looking forward to continuing my coaching career very soon."
For more on this story, check out SB Nation's Dolphins blog, The Phinsider.