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'Phins Hire Ex-Cowboys Coach

If Dan Marino returns for another season with the Miami Dolphins, he'll have to learn Chan Gailey's offense.

Gailey, fired last month after two seasons as coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was hired Tuesday as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. Head coach Dave Wannstedt said the players will learn a new playbook and new terminology in classes beginning March 20.

"It's going to take a lot of study and a lot of work," Wannstedt said. "Everybody will start from scratch."

What's uncertain is whether Marino will want to start over and return for an 18th season at age 39. Wannstedt has declined to address speculation that he hopes Marino will retire.

"I haven't talked to Dan," said Wannstedt, who succeeded Jimmy Johnson as coach Jan. 16. "His situation will be dealt with. Now that Chan's in place, I'm sure this will accelerate the process."

Marino threw five interceptions in a 20-0 loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, but Gailey claims his attention in that game was on the Dallas offense. Gailey stammered when asked whether Marino still has something to offer the Dolphins a sensitive subject that helped push a frustrated Johnson into retirement.

"You know I, I, somebody, I was kind of forewarned that this, that I would, you know, be asked this question," Gailey said. "I haven't even looked at it or watched him play. It's an unfair question because I didn't even watch him play."

Gailey signed a one-year contract to succeed Kippy Brown, who was fired the day Wannstedt became head coach. Gailey will also coach the quarterbacks.

Jim Bates was hired earlier as defensive coordinator. Randy Shannon, a defensive assistant last year, was promoted Tuesday to linebackers coach.

Wannstedt met again Tuesday with former Pittsburgh Steelers director of football operators Tom Donahoe, who has been offered the job of personnel director. Donahoe and his wife spent part of the visit house-hunting.

"I told Dave I would get back to him soon after deciding what is best for our family," Donahoe said in a statement.

With or without Marino, the Dolphins' offense will have a different look next season with more formations, including four- and five-receiver sets that Johnson disliked. But the primary goal will be simple: to run the ball, something Miami has done poorly since before Marino arrived in 1983.

"We will try to create lots of diversions for the defense, and yet we still want to pound the ball," Gailey said.

Wannstedt noted that the Pittsburgh Steelers finished first and second in the NFL in rushing when Gailey was their offensive coordinator in 1996-97. Dallas tied for sixth in rushing in 1999.

There will also be an emphasis on avoiding sacks and turnovers, Wannstedt said. Marino threw 12 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions last season, the worst ratio of his career.

"The things we're talking about doing, Chan has done," Wannstedt said.

Gailey went 18-14 with the Cowboys and made the playoffs both seasons, then was fired by owner Jerry Jones.

"I had two good years in Dallas," Gailey said. "We'll leave it at that."

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