Will Pete Carroll Go Back to the NFL?


Add me to the list of people who think this is a bad idea, if there is such a list:


Carroll's NFL experience was a lifetime ago; ten years is a long time to be out of the day to day grind. As good as USC has been, and as good as the competition has been, that's still not the NFL and no one can convince me otherwise.

Is Seattle the right organization? It's not a terrible organization, not by a long shot. It's not Oakland, and it's not Kansas City and it's certainly not the Washington Redskins (which snapped up a man in Mike Shanahan who's only been out of a job for a few years, rather than an entire decade plus one season).

I picked up the photo from a blog called "Kornheiser's Cartel," which promised to be a sports blog angling to trade off a little of the Mr. Tony magic (without actually involving him, of course).

Alas, that blog has been dead in the water for months. It sputtered through March, going a week or better with no updates, and then died in April, just as baseball season was getting underway. Someone took the time to design the blog, and register "kornheiserscartel.com" and everything. And it died from neglect.

A coach's command of the NFL dies from neglect as well. Could Carroll get it back? Could Carroll succeed? Absolutely. But, the price of failure might leave him unable to walk away from the NFL and go back to a plum job like USC. As long as the program he has built is succeeding, why would he walk away? Carroll could take the Seattle job and make a splash. That's when I'm afraid the game, and the competitive nature of the league, plus the parity in talent, would begin to take a toll on Carroll's bag of tricks. All coaches die a slow, lingering death in the NFL--just ask Bill Belichick, the guy who replaced Carroll.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview Carroll for the job. ESPN.com, citing unidentified league sources, said an announcement of Carroll joining the Seahawks could come early next week.

"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 refused to comment on Carroll. Carroll did not return a phone message left by The AP.

Leiweke did not respond to an e-mail from The AP asking about Carroll, who was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from '97-99 with the New England Patriots.

University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who left his friend Carroll and the Trojans 12 months ago for his first head coaching job, chuckled when asked if he'd like to be a head coach in the same city as his mentor.

"That'd be kind of fun," Sarkisian said.

"I'm so used to hearing people talk about Pete Carroll going to the NFL, they've been saying it for the last seven years when I was with him, so it's not new to me," Sarkisian said. "It doesn't surprise me at all. Every year. You can't find a year in the last seven years where it hasn't been brought up."

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