Miami Dolphins running back coach Eric Studesville is responding to an NFL-backed investigation that ultimately found Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made it known that he believed the team’s draft position should take precedence over winning games in 2019.
Studesville, who has been in that role with the Dolphins since 2018, says the team’s directive during the 2019 season was not questioned as far as he knew.
“From the top down, [the goal was] to win football games and prepare and get ready to go — that’s how it’s always been,” Studesville said, according to ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. “That’s how I think this game is right. That’s what we do, that’s what I owe the game, every time we get a chance to compete, we do our best. There was never anything other than that expressed to us or to me.”
Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the Dolphins, alleging racism in the league’s hiring practices, back in February, and also claimed that Ross attempted to incentivize him to “tank” shortly after his hiring, alleging that Ross offered Flores $100,000 for every loss that season.
While the investigation found no evidence that the team intentionally lost games during the 2019 season, it did find that Ross made comments to team president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, general manager Chris Grier, senior vice president Brandon Shore and Flores that the team’s draft position should take priority over winning games.
“That’s just not how we’re wired,” Studesville said. “None of that was ever shared.”