Shula sizzles when Johnson rumors heat up

March 31, 1994|By Armando Salguero | Armando Salguero,Knight-Ridder News Service

MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula's employment status beyond 1994 is uncertain for the first time in the quarter-century he has been the Dolphins' coach, but even as he was fielding questions on the subject, he was getting a solid block of support from his players.

With Jimmy Johnson on hiatus from the coaching profession for one season and Shula's contract expiring at the end of the upcoming season, a whirlwind of speculation about Johnson's replacing Shula swept through the Dolphin training facility.

Shula, 64, admitted he knew of the whispers and obviously was uncomfortable with them but fell short of saying he feels pressured.

"It doesn't matter if it bothers me or doesn't bother me," Shula said addressing the issue for the first time since it surfaced. "It's something that I'm aware of and I'll deal with."

Shula said he has not spoken with prospective owner H. Wayne Huizenga since Johnson's resignation from the Dallas Cowboys but plans to do so once the sale of the Dolphins to Huizenga closes.

"I've got the year left and we'll discuss my future after that year," Shula said. "I haven't made a decision, but I still love coaching."

The former University of Miami coach, who has a reputation as a players' coach, didn't draw much support from Dolphins players as a replacement for Shula.

"I don't know that I even respect Jimmy Johnson as a man," linebacker Bryan Cox said. "I don't know what to make of a guy who left his wife and ignored his kids to concentrate strictly on football."

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