"I want to thank Steve, all of the members of the Dolphins organization and Dolphins fans I have encountered during the past four years as CEO of the Miami Dolphins," Dee said in a statement released by the Dolphins. "First and foremost, you could not ask for a more supportive and enthusiastic owner than Steve. He believes in running a first-class organization and gives each of us the backing we need to succeed.
"I also want to thank the South Florida community and Dolphins fans everywhere for the support they have given me. We worked hard to develop a strong relationship with our fans and our community, and I appreciate the passion they have for the Dolphins. My experiences with our fans and the members of this community have given me outstanding memories I will always cherish. I would also like to thank Coach Shula, Nat Moore and the hundreds of Dolphins alumni who welcomed me to the organization with open arms and that I shared a unique and special relationship with.
"However, the prospect to return to lead a franchise where I began my career in sports and in a city that means so much to my family is one I couldn't pass up. I will always consider my time with the Miami Dolphins and in South Florida as one of the most rewarding periods in my life and I wish the team the best as I look forward to my new endeavor. I expect to be a frequent visitor to the area and I will always bleed aqua and orange."
The Dolphins will turn to a headhunting firm to find a replacement for Dee, who is expected to stay with the team for at least a few weeks to help the transition.
"I want to thank Mike Dee for his leadership over the past four years to the Miami Dolphins and wish him the best in his new position with the San Diego Padres," Ross said a team-released statement. "Under Mike, we have broadened our role in the community, improved our technology footprint within the organization and enhanced our customer service to our fans. As a result of Mike's leadership and combined with the hard work of our football operations department, I feel that the organization is well positioned for future success both on and off the field. We will begin the process immediately to bring in a new CEO and I have retained Turnkey Sports and Entertainment to lead this search. Mike will be in the office over the next several weeks as he makes the transition to his new position. We wish him and his family the very best in this new chapter of his life."