Carroll moving fast on rebuilding Seahawks
AP Sports Writer
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Pete Carroll kept saying upon his arrival from Southern California that he “couldn’t wait to get started” rebuilding the Seahawks.
He didn’t have to.
Seattle’s new coach barely had time to take a breath from his excited hello to the city, barely got done kissing his wife in the back of an auditorium, before he started the Seahawks’ next search. Carroll joined team chief executive officer Tod Leiweke on Tuesday afternoon to interview Omar Khan, a contract administrator with the Steelers.
By evening, Packers executive John Schneider was in town. New York Giants college scouting director Marc Ross and former Titans GM Floyd Reese were up next in the fast-paced auditions that the Seahawks expected to last into Thursday night.
An announcement of a new GM could come this weekend. Or Seattle could seek a second batch of candidates.
It’s unusual in the NFL, picking a coach and then choosing a new GM to conform to him rather than the other way around.
It’s power Carroll thought he’d never get in the NFL after the Patriots fired him as coach following the 1999 season.
“Yeah, I think there’s a real positive in it. I get to be involved in it,” Carroll said. “I like it a lot, as a matter of fact.”
Leiweke said it wasn’t necessarily going to be that way, until the Seahawks learned last week that such authority is what it would take to pry Carroll from USC.
The Seahawks CEO said there will be three doors atop football operations: “a cap/contract door” for money and number crunching, a job returning vice president for football administration John Idzik is poised to handle; a GM door; “and Pete will have his own, unique door.”
Leiweke’s job will be to ensure collaboration between the three positions.
The lack of a singular authority in football matters is something Seattle hasn’t had since before Mike Holmgren arrived as a Super Bowl champion from Green Bay to become the coach and general manager in 1999.
“The cool thing is, we are getting an outstanding coach as the centerpiece,” Leiweke said of Carroll. “And we are going to build around that.”
The Seahawks have promised Carroll he will be “shoulder to shoulder” with the new GM. Carroll is getting a say on each GM candidate interviewed and, depending on the candidate, may get the final word on who gets the job.
Leiweke fired coach Jim Mora last Friday after a single season that saw the Seahawks finish 5-11. The move left Seattle without a coach, GM or president less than four years after it was in the Super Bowl.
Even though Leiweke had said last month he expected Mora to return, Mora said he began wondering when he didn’t hear from his boss for four days last week. Leiweke had flown to California to meet with Carroll and see if the coach who restored a dynasty at USC wanted to coach and have executive privileges with the Seahawks.
“I do owe Jim Mora an apology,” Leiweke said. “Jim and I are friends – we climbed Mount Rainier together last summer – and we are going to remain friends. But the fact of the matter is, we’ve won nine games in the last two years, and with all due respect four of those wins have been against the St. Louis Rams. Something had to change in a substantial way.”
Leiweke said after Seattle lost its last four games under Mora by a combined 123-37 that he had a “lack of hope” for the first time since he joined the team in 2003, as the top deputy of Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Allen, the Microsoft Corp. tycoon and native of suburban Seattle, bought the team in 1997 and was at team headquarters Tuesday to welcome Carroll.
“Paul Allen, especially with what he’s gone through, deserves hope,” Leiweke said. “He’s currently battling cancer (lymphoma, for which he has been having chemotherapy), and that added a little bit of drama in my mind. The last two years have broken our hearts.”
Carroll knows the stakes – and embraces them.
“I know that Paul Allen wants to win, and he doesn’t want to just win once in a while. He wants to win from now on,” Carroll said. “To me, that fits exactly with the way I think, and the way I’ve tried to present our football in recent years.
“It’s hard to imagine that the standards could be set so high, where you’re only judged by perfection. I have embraced that thought.”