BY JEFF DARLINGTONjdarlington@MiamiHerald.com
MOBILE -- By the time the Dolphins got the phone call that they would have the opportunity to coach this year's Senior Bowl, it meant that at least four other AFC teams with lesser records this season turned down the same offer.
Miami wasn't about to do the same.
``When it got to us, [general manager] Jeff [Ireland] and I spoke,'' coach Tony Sparano said. ``We just felt like it was an opportunity to get close to these kids in a way not a lot of other teams are able to do. We felt like, if it's an advantage for us, we need to take it.''
Now, after two days of intense practice, the advantages are already beginning to pay off. Relationships are developing with players. Intimate knowledge about a prospect's work ethic is being revealed.
And the Dolphins, still with three months before this year's NFL Draft, are getting a behind-the-scenes look at a crop of draft-eligible seniors that could dictate whether they want that player on their roster or not.
``It's a tremendous advantage, no question about it,'' Sparano said.