MIAMI GARDENS -- Since retiring from football Dan Marino has been paid a pretty penny to serve as a celebrity endorser for companies like Nutrisystem, jewelers and auto dealerships, and now the team that made him famous has brought him into the fold. The Dolphins, who have embarked on a major imagine makeover this offseason, formally hired the Hall of Fame quarterback to serve as a "special adviser" to owner Steve Ross, and team CEO Tom Garfinkel.
According to a team source, Marino will be involved with the "business side" of the Dolphins' franchise in his new role. But he'll have an open line of communication with General Manager Dennis Hickey and team executive Dawn Aponte.
Marino won't be involved with the selection or development of football players, but his new role puts him in Ross' circle of trust, which presently includes Garfinkel, CEO of RSE Ventures Matt Higgins, Jorge Perez, who is part owner and vice chairman of the Dolphins' board of directors, and former NFL executive Carl Peterson.
Marino will be responsible for helping to re-brand South Florida's NFL franchise. Marino has been discussing a position with Ross for months. He attended practice last week and spent a significant amount of time talking to Hickey and Aponte.
"Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way," Ross said in a team issued statement. "Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here."
This is Marino's second front-office position within the Dolphins' organization.
In 2004 Marino briefly returned to the Dolphins as Senior Vice President of Football Operations, but he resigned three weeks later, saying that the role was not in the best interest of his family, or the Dolphins.
He immediately returned to his television duties after realizing the hours it took to prepare for the NFL Draft were too taxing on himself and his family.
Marino, who is now 52, worked as an NFL analyst from 2002 to 2013 for CBS. However, the network announced earlier this year that the quarterback would not return to the network's Sunday pregame show in 2014.
Before leaving CBS Marino made it public knowledge that he hoped to rejoin the Dolphins in a role similar to the one fellow Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway serves in Denver, running the Broncos' entire organization.
This special adviser role doesn't give Marino the same power and control as Elway, but he now has the owner's ear on a regular basis, and will be in a position where he can guide Ross when it comes to making better football decisions.
Ross typically swings for the fences, but has fallen short when it comes to landing the big fish such as Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher, Peyton Manning, and last spring's troublesome GM search. Many NFL insiders believe Ross has struggled as a result of his limited football knowledge, and questionable circle of advisers.
Marino's presence, and voice should add some clout and football insight to that circle.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life and I look forward to supporting the organization anyway I can," said Marino, who made national news last year when it was discovered he fathered a child out of wedlock years ago.
"Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I'm excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed."
During his 17-year career with the Dolphins Marino was the unquestioned leader of the team. He threw for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns and had a 86.4 passer rating. Marino, who holds 31 Dolphins' regular season records, and five NFL regular season records for quarterbacks, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
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