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Joe Philbin Combine Press Conference Transcript

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin met with the media today at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is the transcript of what he said:

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

(Opening statement) – “I remember the first day I interviewed for the Miami Dolphins head coaching job with Steve Ross, and we talked a lot about the type of program I wanted to run in Miami. One of the things I told Steve was it’s important to me that any player we have or any staff member we have, I wanted to create an atmosphere where their experience as a Miami Dolphin, whether it was for three weeks, three months, three years, 10 years, was the best professional experience they ever had. And if they left Miami and went to another organization or left and went to work for General Electric, Goldman Sachs or whatever great company in America, they would look back on their time as a Miami Dolphin and say, ‘That organization was committed to helping me reach my full potential. They committed the resources, the time and invested in the individuals to make us a great football team,’ so they can look back and say they had a tremendous experience. Any time that isn’t accomplished, anytime one of our players and staff members has an experience contrary to that, it requires my attention, it needs to be corrected, it needs to be looked at (and) it needs to be fixed. I want everyone to know, I’m the one responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins facility. I’m the one who sets the schedule. I’m the one who decides when the practices are. I decide what time the players eat, how they meet, how they lift, everything that they do in the facility. When they leave the facility, we have kind of a message board, TV board, and it says on it 24/7/365 every day. I walk out there every day, they walk out there every day, as a reminder that we all represent one another. Everything that I do impacts everybody I work with at the Miami Dolphins on a daily basis, and everything that they do impacts me. So I think you could imagine when I read the report that you have, and I got the report the same minute you got it, some of the facts, the behavior, the language that was outlined in the report is inappropriate and is unacceptable, and I’m the one as I mentioned earlier that is in charge of the workplace. I can tell you, I can tell our fans, I can tell you sitting here, I can tell our players, we are going to do things about it. We are going to make it better. We are going to look at every avenue. We are going to uncover every stone, and we are going to have a better workplace. I promise you that. I’m going to make sure that happens. So I’ll take any questions you have.”

(On what in the Wells Report that he didn’t know about before it was released) -“There were some little details that I didn’t know about. As you could imagine I met with the investigators, I believe it was November 18th. It was in the midst of the season. We were still coaching. We were still playing games, so there wasn’t time for me necessarily to do a lot of personal investigating into some of these claims. A majority of these things I knew about.”

(On what he can personally do to make sure that his message of promoting integrity and accountability throughout the organization gets through) - “Like I said, I have to do a better job. I’m going to look at every way, the way we educate, the way we communicate, the way we talk to one another. I’m going to look at every avenue. We have a lot of dedicated, committed people in our organization, in our building, that make a lot of sacrifices every single day when they go to work. I have to make sure that we create a better atmosphere and a better environment.”

(On if part of his job is to know what is going on in the locker room) -“Look, I’m the head football coach. The team, the performance of the team, the record, the 8-8 record, that falls on my shoulders. I’m going to be more vigilant, I’m going to be more diligent, I’m going to be more visible and I’m going to have a better pulse.”

(On why he didn’t follow up with Jonathan Martin after he briefly left the team in the offseason) -“Well when I was made aware of his condition, I immediately connected him with medical treatment. I had subsequent discussions, nothing at great length. Out of respect for Jonathan (Martin) I’m not going to get into the details of those discussions. I think that he should be the one that speaks about his health status.”

(On if he feels he should have followed up with Jonathan Martin more after he left the team) -“Again, I connected him with medical care immediately when I knew that he needed some. Again, I’m not going to comment any further about those discussions about his health.”

(On if he has been in contact with the league regarding possible penalties against players, and if he sees any scenario where one of the players implicated in the report doesn’t return to the team) - “We are in concert with the NFL and the commissioner’s office in regard to potential discipline of any player. We are communicating with them on that. We haven’t made any decisions on anybody’s future in terms of the 2014 Miami Dolphins.”

(On if Kevin O’Neill made the trip to Indianapolis before he was relieved of his duties) -“As I mentioned to you before, I was interviewed I believe on November 18th by Ted Wells and the investigative team. We received the report exactly the same day, same time that you did. That was a time-span of 89 days, I believe. As an organization, when you are talking about the careers and future of people who are dedicated professionals, we felt we needed to deliberate. We needed to discuss. We didn’t feel that five days was an exurbanite amount of time when you consider the implications of those decisions. That being said, Kevin O’Neill is a dedicated person, professional. He gave 18 years of service. I don’t know if there is ever really a good time to relieve someone of their duties. Would it have been better maybe if he was not here (in Indianapolis)? When we made a decision as an organization, we felt it was fair to communicate that decision as soon as possible, and that’s what we did.”

(On what he told everyone in the organization before they met with the investigators) -“To tell the truth, tell the truth. It’s always good advice.”

(On if this has been an embarrassing six months for the franchise) -“It’s been tough on a lot of people. It’s been tough on our ownership, it’s been tough on our fan-base (and) it’s been tough on everyone in the locker room. It’s touched a lot of people in the country. It’s been difficult, but I know I speak for our owner, Steve Ross, we are resolute in our dedication to getting this right and correcting any problems that existed. We are going to do it.”

(On if Jonathan Martin would be able to return this season) – “Well our owner Steve Ross has reached out to Jonathan, I believe at some point in the near future they plan on getting together, so for me to make any comments prior to that meeting I think would be inappropriate.”

(On if he thinks the players could handle having him back in the locker room)– “Again, until that meeting occurs, I’m not going to make any comments.”

(On if he wanted to release Richie Incognito after the golf incident)– “Well, when I was made aware of that situation that you’re referencing I took immediate action in the form of player discipline. Obviously there are many options that we discussed as an organization what the best course would be and that’s what we came up with. I’m not going to pass the buck to anybody else, I was a part of it, that was the decision that we made.”

(On if he regrets not cutting ties with Richie Incognito at that point) – “Again, that was the decision that we made at that point in time so I stand by it and that’s what we did.”

(On how Richie was made a leader on the football team after the incident at the golf course)– “I didn’t necessary name him a leader. There’s a leadership council that we have in place, the process is that the players elect the players that they want to be on the leadership council. Out of respect to the process that’s how the votes came in and he was on the leadership council.”

(On if he knew about the issues while they were happening)– “I did not know about it when it was going on, no. The majority of things I did not know about when it was going on, no.”

(On how he became aware of the issues before his interview) – “Things became quite public around November 1st, so some things seeped in and leaked in and then I heard the same voice message that you’ve probably heard and the country has probably heard. Those are things that as I started, those are things I heard. I believe that phone call was maybe in March, or certainly I had never heard that text message, so as different things occurred over the period of time I became more aware of the situation.”

(On knowing what he knows now, how would he have handled the situation)– “I don’t have the benefit to look back. Certainly I would have hoped that I would have noticed some of these things, I can tell you that I had never turned my back. If I had heard this type of language or these type of acts being done I would have intervened immediately. There’s a common decency that people need to have toward one another and when that gets violated that’s an issue. I certainly wish I had seen some of it, and I could have intervened quicker and perhaps would not have grown to this proportion that it’s grown to. It’s easy to look back, that’s how it unfolded so now I have to focus on the future and how we’re going to correct the problems.”

(On if he feels fortune that he still has a job) – “Again, Steve Ross is the one that does the hiring of the Miami Dolphins, that’s a question you should ask him.”

(On if it will affect the Miami Dolphins brand, where players would not want to play for the Dolphins etc.)– “I believe in the players. I’ve stated I believe when we first became aware of some of these allegations that I have faith in our locker room, faith in the players that we have. I think we have an outstanding coaching staff. I know we have work to do like every other football team here that’s why we’re here. We’re here to work, we’re here to evaluate these prospects and improve our football team. I’m confident in the direction, I’m confident we’re going to make the changes necessary to improve the workplace at the Miami dolphins and improve our football team.”