Dolphins security chief has worked for 10 coaches
Nov. 27, 2015
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — On the night before the Miami Dolphins' 1992 home opener, team security director Stu Weinstein received a phone call from rookie cornerback Troy Vincent, who needed help.
One of Vincent's relatives, visiting from out of town, wound up at a crack house in a run-down Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. Weinstein notified police, who met him and Vincent outside the house.
"The police had a car down the street in case there were any issues," Weinstein says. "Troy and I went right in and got the person."
It was just another day on the job, albeit a memorable one, for Weinstein. He has been with the Dolphins since 1985, and his responsibilities range from crack house rescues to obtaining passports for players. He polices security at practice and in the bench area during games, researches the background of free agents and college seniors, and assists Dolphins players, coaches and staff with legal issues, from traffic tickets to felonies.
He has worked for Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula and nine subsequent coaches, accompanying them on and off the field, to news conferences and to community events, and driving them to the stadium on game day. He literally looks over the coach's shoulder, and is often in the background of photos showing sideline celebrations over the past three decades.
"Stu was around for a lot of good moments, a lot of happiness," says Shula, who hired Weinstein. "Knowing he was going to be there for you meant a lot to me. You knew he would do anything he could for you, whether security or anything else. He's a loyal guy who really made sure everything you were asked to do went OK."
Dozens of players, past and present, will say the same thing. Vincent, now NFL executive vice president, says he remains grateful for Weinstein's help with his family matter 23 years ago, and remembers the incident "like it was yesterday."
"I'm about to go into my first home game as a professional," Vincent says. "You have family in town, and an issue arises. Who do you call? Stu."
Dan Campbell, who became the Dolphins' interim coach last month, says he has adjusted to being shadowed by Weinstein and appreciates the support.
"Stu's the man who can solve problems," Campbell says. "He's kind of mysterious, and he doesn't put up with much. If you don't know Stu, it takes a while for him to warm up to you. But he's a great asset, and that's why he has been here so long."
A South Florida native, Weinstein was a private investigator before the Dolphins hired him as security director. At the time, only four other NFL teams had such a position. Now, Vincent says, some teams have five or six people to cover all of the roles Weinstein fills.
"He led security, he was coach Shula's right-hand man, he did everything," Vincent says. "He helped mold my life and assisted my development as a man, a husband, a father. And he's still mentoring young men. He's special."
Weinstein, 69, typically works more than 70 hours a week, and has built up two years of unused vacation.
"There are no days off," Weinstein says.
He's not complaining. He says he grew up a sports fan and enjoys being part of a professional franchise.
Sometimes the job is unpleasant. Dolphins players have had few brushes with the law in recent years, but a bullying scandal led tackle Jonathan Martin to quit the team and stained the 2013 season.
Weinstein says he doesn't believe he missed signals the scandal was brewing because the Dolphins' locker room environment wasn't unusual.
"You have to understand the culture," Weinstein says. "I have been around a lot worse things that were done to players than what allegedly happened to Jonathan Martin."
As an example, he recalls the 1992 case of defensive lineman Alfred Oglesby, who was taped to a palm tree by teammates after he violated training camp curfew. Weinstein found him at 11 p.m. on his way to conduct bed check.
"I had to go to the cafeteria to get a regular steak knife to cut the guy loose," Weinstein says. "If I hadn't, he would still be there."
The worst part of the job, he says, is the turnover in personnel — coaches, players, management — that comes with losing. Weinstein is delaying retirement in part because he still hopes to work for a Super Bowl team. The Dolphins' most recent trip to the title game was in 1984, the year before they hired him.
He has seen the franchise sold twice, from the Robbie family to Wayne Huizenga, and then to Stephen Ross. Among those he has watched come and go are Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban and Bill Parcells.
Weinstein shakes his head as he discusses the title drought.
"You can't keep changing direction, in any business," he says. "You have to stay the course. We've had three owners. Wayne unfortunately hired three so-called superstars, and they all quit on him. It's mind-boggling three guys would quit."
The Dolphins were all about stability when Weinstein started. Shula won consecutive Super Bowl titles in the early 1970s, coached for 33 years and set an NFL record for victories that still stands.
"He was able to last as long as he did because he never got too high after a win, and never got too low after a loss," Weinstein says. "Now he's a sweet guy who sits in a wheelchair and likes to reminisce, and you get a hug. But he was demanding.
"You would get yelled at because you happened to be there for something somebody else did. At first I would make a feeble attempt to try to defend myself, which was a total waste of time. After that you take the rebuke, and five minutes later he forgot about it."
Shula has been retired for 20 years, and now it's Weinstein who represents stability for the Dolphins.
He's in good health aside from troublesome sciatica that forces him to use a cane. He plans to work a 32nd season next year, and perhaps beyond that.
"I have no hobbies," Weinstein says, "and a great, understanding wife."
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