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Don Shula: Dolphins took a chance on Incognito and it backfired

Don Shula Getty Images

Don Shula coached the Dolphins for 26 seasons, winning 274 games and two Super Bowls. He doesn’t like what he’s seeing with the Dolphins right now.

Shula told the Miami Herald that signing Richie Incognito, the offensive lineman who is now suspended for harassing teammate Jonathan Martin, was a mistake by a team that should have cared more about the character of its locker room.

You win with good people on and off the field,” Shula said. “They took a chance on a guy with a bad reputation and it backfired on them.”

Shula said he still loves the Dolphins and doesn’t like seeing them looking like a franchise that lacks credibility.

“It hurts. You hate to see it happening,” Shula said.

In Shula’s day, the Dolphins were among the NFL’s most respected franchises. No one would say that about the Dolphins today.

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45 Responses to “Don Shula: Dolphins took a chance on Incognito and it backfired”
  1. youhurtmyfeelings says: Nov 9, 2013 6:08 PM

    Martin was the bigger mistake. Miami used a 2nd round pick on a soft player, on and off the field. Incognito is actually good.

  2. thelastbesthope says: Nov 9, 2013 6:10 PM

    Shoes…old school class act.

    Came to Miami in 1970 and made NFL history.
    God bless ya sir.

  3. purpleppleeaters says: Nov 9, 2013 6:12 PM

    Nonsense. To imply this kind of thing never happened under Shula is ludicrous. Don’s memory may be fading, or at least has become a bit selective.

  4. htowntexan says: Nov 9, 2013 6:15 PM

    Wow. Last sentence seems pretty off. This is the nfl. If the only problem is some good old hazing, I’d say they are doing alright.

  5. yankeemofo says: Nov 9, 2013 6:17 PM

    thelastbesthope says:
    Nov 9, 2013 6:10 PM
    Shoes…old school class act.

    Came to Miami in 1970 and made NFL history.
    God bless ya sir.
    ——————————————————

    Amid some shady circumstances. 1972* 1973*(especially if you give the Pats an asterisk.

  6. wearesc13 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM

    The Patriots had a mass murderer on their team and yet, Kraft and Belichick are still treated like gods. The Patriots could do no wrong…..Meanwhile, the Dolphins have one idiot on their team and they are getting crucified….makes sense.

  7. intforatd says: Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM

    Another Dolphin story? Boy you guys are going to beat this story into submission like you did the Hernandez story, lol

  8. remyje says: Nov 9, 2013 6:21 PM

    here comes one of @g35phin’s corny recycled meme jokes….

  9. idothis2 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:27 PM

    Let’s keep this in perspective. The Pats turned a blind eye on character(see Aaron Hernandez) but didnt get this much criticism. Even now the media allowed the Pats to distance themselves from Hernandez, but are hammering the Phins. Incognito isnt an alleged murderer that we know of yet….

  10. chawk12thman says: Nov 9, 2013 6:27 PM

    Everyone seems quick to judge and profess opinions. I think we need to wait to see what transpires.

  11. billytodd2013blbaad says: Nov 9, 2013 6:31 PM

    I’m pretty positive this not only happened back in the 70′s and 80′s but was most likely worse so for anyone to say this didn’t happen back then is just ignorant. What incognito did was wrong without question but Martin really needs to man up!

  12. ilovecostcobut says: Nov 9, 2013 6:32 PM

    Class guy. Perhaps, even now, years later, some if that might rerun off on Mercury Morris.

  13. djteknision1200 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:32 PM

    Man Sunday can’t come fast enough!! Media is beating this story into the ground.

  14. strokinmyego says: Nov 9, 2013 6:35 PM

    “Let’s keep this in perspective. The Pats turned a blind eye on character(see Aaron Hernandez) but didnt get this much criticism. Even now the media allowed the Pats to distance themselves from Hernandez, but are hammering the Phins. ”

    Nice try at building a straw man and using misdirection. Oh silly Patriots haters, this isn’t about the Patriots, it’s about the Dolphins. But I know with your intelligence levels being well…. challenged things can get confusing for you.

    The Patriots were hammered all summer, they took their medicine from the media and fans alike. But the Patriots handled their crisis WAY better then the Dolphins have handled theirs.

    Belichick and Kraft addressed the media, and were thorough and honest. They faced the firestorm head on and didn’t flinch. They released Hernandez immediately after he was arrested and without knowing what the charges were while the Dolphins know exactly what Incognito did and have only suspended him.

    The Dolphins could learn a lot from Belichick and the Patriots when it comes to handling a crisis.

  15. grogansheroes says: Nov 9, 2013 6:37 PM

    Dolphins had a first round pick taken away for stealing away Shula from the Colts. This type of thing always happened with Shula. Everyone thinks it’s a Sainted franchise. Far from it.

  16. pftbillsfan says: Nov 9, 2013 6:38 PM

    I would say it. One bad guy. Owner that cares, stories history, up and coming players, bright coach, lack racial overtones in their name. One man doesn’t define an organization, I could add a witty analogy about Bradshaw not really being dead, or spelling errors but….

  17. bonniebengal says: Nov 9, 2013 6:38 PM

    intforatd says:
    Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM
    Another Dolphin story? Boy you guys are going to beat this story into submission like you did the Hernandez story, lol

    ___________________________

    Well to be fair, I think this particular incident is going to end up significantly changing the culture of the NFL.

  18. ratbastardshanahandjob says: Nov 9, 2013 6:39 PM

    No the biggest mistake the Dolphins made was drafting a soft quitter player like Martin. Richie Cog is the actual good player of the two. Ya Don. The Dolphins should draft 53 players like Martin. They wouldn’t win any games but it would be funny seeing the Oprah after game PC’s…..

  19. lennydpocketqb says: Nov 9, 2013 6:40 PM

    wearesc13 says:
    Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM
    The Patriots had a mass murderer on their team and yet, Kraft and Belichick are still treated like gods. The Patriots could do no wrong…..Meanwhile, the Dolphins have one idiot on their team and they are getting crucified….makes sense.

    ___________________________________

    Pats is a franchise that at base level are consistently competitive. 1972 is not walking into the Miami franchise anytime soon.

  20. bowfam says: Nov 9, 2013 6:42 PM

    Michael David Smith:

    “No one would say that about the Dolphins today.” ??

    Mike Mcarthy 3 days ago said “I would trust Joe Philbin with my children.”

    Pretty much the ultimate compliment he could give another man.

    I believe the Dophins are a respected franchise.

    And despite this man named Johnathan Martin arguably not handling things the proper way, there are many around the league that would agree with me.

    I say poor choice of words for your finishing two sentences on this article.

  21. whiskytango333 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:46 PM

    I think im sufficiently sick of this story. 6 of the headlines on PFT about this? Nothing else to talk about right in the middle of the NFL season?

  22. milehigh85 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:51 PM

    Anybody else wondering what Tebow’s been up to these days?

  23. bledee10 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:52 PM

    For a contrast in two different levels of NFL organizations, look at the Steelers and the Dolphins. Both took a Pouncey. One is a class organization from top to bottom, and their Pouncey keeps in line and is respected. The other lets their Pouncey assume a quasi-leadership role, and he seems to have no regard for letting his inner cretin come out. And genetically speaking, they are the same guy!

    It also just occured to me the irony that another Stanford OL took out Mike’s brother for the season early this year. LOL.

  24. wearesc13 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:55 PM

    lennydpocketqb says: Nov 9, 2013 6:40 PM

    wearesc13 says:
    Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM
    The Patriots had a mass murderer on their team and yet, Kraft and Belichick are still treated like gods. The Patriots could do no wrong…..Meanwhile, the Dolphins have one idiot on their team and they are getting crucified….makes sense.

    ___________________________________

    Pats is a franchise that at base level are consistently competitive. 1972 is not walking into the Miami franchise anytime soon.

    ___________________________________

    So by your logic, as long as you win, you are free from scrutiny? It’s okay if you cheat, murder people, etc. Winning cures all….makes sense again. We have a genius on our hands.

  25. captainwisdom8888 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:56 PM

    Incognito’s own mother said that she thinks her son will ALWAYS be the way he is…and it isn’t a good sign when your own mom can’t even bring herself to defend you. Incognito seems like the kind of guy that is only capable of adversely affecting the people around him. He is a racist, he has a problem with frequent rage, and his fellow NFL players voted him as the dirtiest guy around.

    It would be different if this guy were one of the top guys at his position, because if you’re good enough there will always be someone out there that will take a chance on you, even despite the red flags (example: Albert Haynesworth). I can’t fathom why any team in the NFL would want to employ this psycho moving forward…

  26. idothis2 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:58 PM

    strokinmyego says:

    “Belichick and Kraft addressed the media, and were thorough and honest.”

    You make yourself look bad posting that junior…

  27. ranlgon says: Nov 9, 2013 7:01 PM

    The biggest difference between Pats and Hernandez and the Dolphins is the Pats released Hernandez, made one statement and then silence. The Dolphins just don’t shut-up.

  28. tfbuckfutter says: Nov 9, 2013 7:14 PM

    Mercury Morris also chimed in. He said he would have straightened Incognito out, toughened Jonathan Martin up, taught Ryan Tannehill how to be a Pro-Bowl QB, and signed with the Jaguars and single-handedly beaten the Chiefs in Week 1 so there would be no discussion about the possibility of an undefeated team.

    He also called the 2007 Patriots a bunch of fruits, which I felt was uncalled for.

  29. rajbais says: Nov 9, 2013 7:15 PM

    I think Coach Shula is confusing Martin for Incognito.

    Doesn’t he come off as hypocritical for chastising Incognito after coaching Bryan Cox???

    Also, isn’t the old tough coach show that he’s becoming too soft by not criticizing Jonathan Martin.

    This is why using old timers to get controversial quotes is a bad idea.

    Greg Cote can be funny on the “Dan LeBatard Show,” but he didn’t do a good enough of a job to show that Incognito was worthy of being deemed as the problem. By using an old timer as a quote machine when he’s too disconnected from the organization and has no clue about how it operates he causes Incognito’s name to be slandered unfairly.

    Both Shula and Cote should know better. After all when you’re older you should be wiser.

  30. rajbais says: Nov 9, 2013 7:20 PM

    All Shula is doing is mishandling his fame and achievements and thus causing someone who is more innocent than deemed otherwise to be unfairly blasphemed.

    People will automatically think that Incognito is bad for any team now because they heard it from someone with great credibility, but no direct 2013 Dolphin knowledge.

    Both Cote and Shula are known to act like oldies, but they mishandled their respectability and are going to inadvertently wrongfully influence naive people who should view Incognito better.

  31. seahawkgoat says: Nov 9, 2013 7:36 PM

    I’m not a Dolphins or Patriots fan, and I tend to side with Incognito at this point, without knowing anything close to the actual facts.

    However, regarding the Patriots/Dolphins comparison, there is one huge difference between the two incidents.

    The Aaron Hernandez incident took place outside of the locker room, whereas BullyGate took place in the locker room, under the “watch” of the coaching staff/medical staff/etc, and possibly (*PFT crosses fingers*) at the direction of the coaching staff.

  32. realitycheckbaby says: Nov 9, 2013 7:42 PM

    Note to league and media…

    No one cares about the Dolphins.

    They haven’t been good in over 40 years.

  33. jrcthree says: Nov 9, 2013 7:44 PM

    Growing up in Miami area and having Coach Shula as a fixture of town well into my adult life, I always saw the Dolphins as a respectful franchise. We all know why. It has Don Shula’s fingerprint all over it. He was very commanding. Example can be made after the Dolphins traded for Marv Fleming, a black player. Shula observed the locker room and decided to force black players and white players to room together. He forced the team to integrate. He refused to let the locker room culture divide the team.

    It is almost 20 years ago since Coach Shula retired. Either way, it will never have happened if Shula is still manning the team today. It baffles me to see the Dolphins franchise like that in this day and age. They had to use Code Red to motivate a player. That’s how bad it is.

    It starts with Jeff Ireland.

  34. bullcharger says: Nov 9, 2013 7:53 PM

    Nothing worse than listening to Don Shula. He’s right in this case to some extent, but anyone and their brother could say that in light of what has happened. How many players did he have on his teams that had legal problems, etc. I’m sure if you go back and look there will be quite a few. He’s made many bad decisions, starting with not putting enough players around Marino that could win a Super Bowl. Shula only made it to one Super Bowl with what may people consider one of the top 5 QBs of all time and he didn’t win a Super Bowl at all in his last 22 years of coaching. He is no doubt one of the greatest coaches ever but since he retired in 1995 he just pops up here and then and says pretentious and annoying things.

  35. bullcharger says: Nov 9, 2013 8:01 PM

    wearesc13 says:
    Nov 9, 2013 6:20 PM
    The Patriots had a mass murderer on their team and yet, Kraft and Belichick are still treated like gods. The Patriots could do no wrong…..Meanwhile, the Dolphins have one idiot on their team and they are getting crucified….makes sense.

    ___________________________________

    Pats is a franchise that at base level are consistently competitive. 1972 is not walking into the Miami franchise anytime soon.

    ___________________________________

    So by your logic, as long as you win, you are free from scrutiny? It’s okay if you cheat, murder people, etc. Winning cures all….makes sense again. We have a genius on our hands.

    —————–

    It’s unfortunate at times, but winning does almost cure all in the NFL. It doesn’t mean you are free from scrutiny, it just means the scrutiny doesn’t last long. Look at the Saints this year.

  36. blueberrymuffin11 says: Nov 9, 2013 8:16 PM

    The difference between the Pats and Dolphins situations is that Hernandez committed his crime(s) off-field- they weren’t locker room related or football related. Incognito’s actions are part of a team culture that, at best, encourages bullying and hazing and, at worst, turns a blind eye to racism and extortion.

  37. seanb20124 says: Nov 9, 2013 8:18 PM

    Just guessing that Shula turned a blind eye to rampant cocaine use in the 70′s

  38. nceaglesfan says: Nov 9, 2013 8:19 PM

    Didn’t Mercury Morris play for Shula??

  39. mugsymagpie says: Nov 9, 2013 8:27 PM

    Mercury Morris was a Coke user and cocaine dealer. Watch the documentary cocaine Cowboys and you can see the Shula run Miami Dolphins

  40. randymossblewit says: Nov 9, 2013 8:34 PM

    Mike McCarthy is a complete idiot. I wouldn’t trust Joe Philbin with my groceries!

  41. thereyougo2 says: Nov 9, 2013 9:09 PM

    A screwball franchise from the top down. They been wanting to fire Ireland for three years now relating to his draft picks. Stephen Ross belongs in Hollywood with his signing celebrities as minor partners and Philbin has no touch with his players and looks more and more like a lost soul. Can’t see this team winning another game

  42. thefiesty1 says: Nov 9, 2013 9:41 PM

    Too little too late ignato blew it.

  43. psly2124 says: Nov 9, 2013 10:19 PM

    The reason the dolphins are getting beaten up is bullying is a liberal agenda. It’s obviously more serious the murder. But maybe not as much as the redskin name

  44. fishyinalittledishy says: Nov 10, 2013 4:56 AM

    Jeeps the patriots getting credit for releasing Jack the Ripper instead of suspending him and giving thumbs up to bill and Robert for the way they handled it. Come on let’s get this into perspective and the level seriousness. One team drafted a sensitive intelligent young man and had signed a some what troubled vet while NE signed AL Capone.

  45. mrcogburn says: Nov 10, 2013 2:10 PM

    I think you are confused The Miami Dolphins are still a respected organization.

    The news media never was.

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