For years now things have been piling up against Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland. The majority of Dolfans are hoping these negative things will act as nails and be driven into his coffin. FIRELAND is a common phrase amongst the ‘Phins phaithful. The word is that some further unpleasantness is en route, and will only further the divide/rift between Ireland and the fan-base. If it is true then the question becomes – How does it play into the decision this off-season for Stephen Ross when it comes time to stick with Ireland, or move on from him.
Agents JR Rickert and Peter Schaffer have had issues with former partners in the past, but they have moved on and have formed Authentic Athletix which is a top-10, perhaps even top-5 company for representing NFL players.
The battle that has begun between Authentic Athletix and Ireland revolves around client Artis Hicks. Hicks was signed this past off-season, but his career looks to be over. Miami is trying to not pay his $1.2 million salary as an injury has forced him to end his Dolphins career. Miami says the acute herniation in his neck that forced him out of action was in fact a pre-existing injury that was hidden by Hicks and his people.
Hicks disagrees, and rumor is he is going to file a grievance on Monday to recoup the money. Miami points to a 2006 x-ray they recently got their hands on which could show the injury was pre-existing. Hicks will point to the fact that he played many games (and never missed practice) since then so the injury was only career-ending now, plus since he played through this before it is possible he plum forgot about the 2006 x-ray so he did not knowingly hold back any info when signing with the Dolphins a few months ago.
This has the potential to get ugly. Agents do not have a sense of humor when it comes to any questions about do their clients get paid, or not. This agency alone reps 82 NFL clients with a lot of big-time players. Brandon Browner, Joshua Cribbs, Hakeem Nicks, Russell Okung, Phil Taylor, and current ‘Phin Kevin Burnett to name a few. If Miami is painted as an organization that is willing and wanting to do anything possible to deny payments then not only would that do damage for their rep with any Authentic Athletix players, but surely would be league-wide damage for Miami.
If the rumored grievance is filed then both parties will be at the mercy of the Arbitrator who will hear and decide the case.
This has potential to paint the ‘Phins in a negative light. We will watch this story develop…
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