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Pete Carroll to Sign with NFL's Seattle Seahawks: Why Leave Now?

Paul PreibisiusAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2010

Pete Carroll has been tossed about as a potential head coaching candidate for NFL jobs across nearly his entire tenure at USC. Miami even followed him all the way to South America in an attempt to hire the coach with a 97-19 career record at USC. 

For the first time, the rumors of Pete Carroll’s NFL return seem more than vapors. He has not officially signed; however, the Seattle Seahawks have been reported to be very close to hiring Carroll to replace just-fired head coach Jim Mora. 

CEO Tom Leiweke spent the past week in Southern California. He fired Mora while in Los Angeles, and also spent the time in L.A. interviewing Carroll, with the two seeming very close to a deal.

Seattle has already let go of head coach Jim Mora, fired on the heels of a disappointing 5-11 year. The Seahawks closed the year with a four-game losing streak that ultimately sealed Mora’s fate. The program is still looking for a face after rumors of a Mike Holmgren return fell through as Cleveland brought the ex-Seahawks coach and GM on.

It would seem an ideal situation for the head coach who had frequently rebuffed NFL offers to remain in the powerhouse PAC-10 program. Owner Paul Allen has the deep pockets to give Carroll a significant boost to his solid $4 million a year USC contract, putting money on the table that no college program can keep pace with.

The Seahawks also would keep Carroll on the West Coast and close to water, two things he has expressed a desire to maintain. He would be granted a strong say in personnel matters as well, an alluring facet for any coach. Despite his deep pockets, Allen is considered an ideal owner to work for as well, since he tends to not over-insert himself into the finer points of running the team.

The biggest factor in dislodging Carroll from the ranks of college head coaching may have nothing to do with the team interested, and more to do with the situation USC football might be facing.

USC basketball just suffered a huge set of self-imposed sanctions in response to potential ill dealings with one-and-done player OJ Mayo. This may not be the end of sanctions faced as the program still has to face the NCAA and any sanctions the league itself might impose.

The team’s football program has reason to believe it may be facing similar disciplinary action in the near future. For years, an investigation into potential NCAA violations surrounding USC alum Reggie Bush had been stonewalled by the fact that the NCAA has no subpoena power, and thus are forced to use only testimony freely given.

A civil case against Bush has been given the go-ahead now; being an actual legal case, it can force Bush, Carroll, and any other possible individual involved to testify under oath. This gives the appearance that a ruling may very well be on the horizon that will affect USC’s football program.

He also is finally showing some frustration with USC athletic director Mike Garrett. He openly showed disregard for how Joe McKnight’s questionable situation was handled to close the year. Garrett also failed to show Carroll significant support after a down season in which the Trojans went 8-4.

The final straw could be a feeling of unfinished business. Head coaches are an inherently proud, driven bunch, and his 33-31 career as an NFL head coach might leave Carroll wishing to prove himself at the highest level.

With all of these factors, it finally appears this will be the year Carroll returns to professional football. Whether the move will benefit Seattle or not, it seems quite likely they will be giving the head coaching job (along with a strong personnel control component, if not outright GM-ship) to Pete Carroll of USC.

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