Should Mora have been fired?
SEATTLE – Jim Mora is out as Seahawks head coach, and a league official told The Associated Press on Saturday the team is in "discussions" with Pete Carroll, but do not plan on giving him the dual title of president.
The official added the Seahawks will hire a general manager and separately a coach. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Seahawks are not commenting.
The Seahawks stunned the NFL and fans Friday by the sudden announcement that Mora had been fired after posting a 5-11 record in his one and only season at the helm.
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday night that Carroll and the Seahawks are close to a five-year, $35 million deal to make him the president and head coach. It would be a lucrative deal for a man who posted a modest 33-31 record in four years as an NFL head coach.
"We've made a tough decision today," said CEO Tod Leiweke about Mora's firing. "It became apparent after conducting an extensive internal audit, that a new direction was needed to provide an opportunity for the organization to be successful. Today's decision, while difficult, is part of the process in building a franchise with a new vision in 2010."
Mora will reportedly receive about $12 million for the remaining three years on his contract.
"This team, more importantly this community, means so much to me that it hurts not being able to see this through," said Mora in a press release from the Seahawks. "I am disappointed I did not get the chance to complete my contract. This is a tough business that sometimes demands immediate gratification."
"I was very shocked," said Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh."I think Coach Mora is a hell of a coach."
Seahawks defensive end Darryl Tapp posted on his Twitter page "Coach Mora will be missed."
KING 5's Chris Egan reports a group from the Seahawks, including Leiweke, met with Carroll in Los Angeles earlier this week to see if he was interested in the job.
"My league sources tell me it would almost be a surprise now if it doesn't happen," said ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
"Pete's name comes out at this time every year. In the past, he hasn't commented on such reports," USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He was not expected in (Friday). ... At this point, we have nothing to report."
A Seahawks spokesman inside the team's headquarters Friday afternoon refused to comment on Carroll. Carroll did not immediately return a phone call left for him by The AP. Leiweke did not return an e-mail from The AP asking about Carroll.
The Seahawks have also reportedly asked the Minnesota Vikings for permission to interview defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. ESPN.com's John Clayton tells KING 5 News that it's unlikely former Super Bowl winning coaches Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy or Jon Gruden would take the job.
Mora was named Holmgren's successor before the 2008 season, Holmgren's final year with the team. The Seahawks had negotiated with Holmgren to return as General Manager after the mid-season resignation of Tim Ruskell, but Holmgren decided to take a similar job with the Cleveland Browns.
The firing is a stunning reversal from last month when Leiweke gave Mora a vote of confidence. Mora himself said this week that he expected to return in 2010, despite Seattle losing its final four games.
Before coming to Seattle, Mora spent three seasons as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He posted a combined 27-23 record and led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game after the 2004 season, followed by records of 8-8 and 7-9.
Mora, 48, moved the the Puget Sound area with his family when he was 13. He played for the University of Washington as a defensive back.