DAVIE, Fla. — The possibility Bill Parcells might leave the Miami Dolphins after only one season surfaced just as the team he rebuilt earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2001.
Parcells’ contract allows him to leave after one season and still receive the $12 million remaining on his four-year deal if the team is sold, owner Wayne Huizenga confirmed.
The sale of a majority share to New York real estate billionaire Stephen Ross is expected to be completed shortly after the season. Parcells would then have 30 days to leave without sacrificing the money due him in the final three years of his contract.
Surprising Miami plays host to Baltimore in a first-round playoff game Sunday. The Dolphins are 11-5, a dramatic turnaround from last year’s 1-15 record.
The existence of the contract clause giving the 67-year-old Parcells a lucrative way out was first reported by ESPN.
Huizenga and Ross said they hope Parcells will stay. Coach Tony Sparano smiled but declined to comment Monday when asked whether he has any leverage with Parcells that might keep his boss from departing.
The Dolphins’ revival began a year ago when Huizenga hired Parcells as executive vice president of football operations. Parcells managed similar turnarounds as a coach, taking over losing teams with the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys and transforming them into winners.
Parcells has a history of being on the move, and he has held three jobs in the past two years. He quit coaching after the 2006 season with Dallas and was a TV network analyst in 2007. He spent four years with the Cowboys, three with the Jets and four with the Patriots.
Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins last winter and is expected to soon exercise an option to purchase up to 95 percent.