Carroll to Seahawks? Rumors swirling

Will Pete Carroll be the next head coach of the Seattle Seahawks?
Depends who you listen to.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Carroll decided Sunday
night to resign from USC and take the job with the Seahawks. The
school’s players and coaches were informed of the move through a
text message from an assistant, according to a story posted on the
newspaper’s Web site.

Carroll and several Trojans players did not respond to text
messages and phone calls left by the AP. The coach’s agent, Gary
Uberstine, did not respond to calls and e-mails left on Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. A Seahawks spokesman declined comment when
asked about the report that Carroll had resigned. He also said the
Seahawks had nothing to report on their coaching search Sunday
night.

USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said he also had nothing to
report on Carroll, who has spent nine mostly glorious years with
the Trojans.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press said Carroll is about to sign
a contract to return to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks,
according to a league official with direct knowledge of the
coaching search. The official, who requested anonymity because the
team isn’t detailing the search, said Sunday night the charismatic
coach of Southern California has “not signed but (is) very
close.”

The official told The AP that the Seahawks expect to finish
the deal for the eighth coach in their 34-year history Monday
morning, and that all that was left was to “dot the I’s and cross
the T’s.” The official said that barring last-minute hang-ups, the
Seahawks are likely to introduce Carroll on Tuesday or Wednesday.

FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer reported that as of Sunday, no
Seattle-Carroll deal was in place.

Seahawks chief executive Tod Leiweke spent Sunday in Los
Angeles meeting with Carroll.

The Seahawks fired coach Jim Mora on Friday following just
one season, even though he had three years and about $12 million
remaining on his contract. General manager and president Tim
Ruskell was forced to resign last month, leaving Seattle without a
coach, general manager or president less than four years after the
team reached the Super Bowl.

Carroll went 6-10 with the Jets in 1994 and 27-21 while twice
reaching the playoffs from ’97-99 with the Patriots – before he
restored a dynasty at USC beginning in 2001.

Seattle is 9-23 since its run of four consecutive NFC West
titles ended in the 2007 season. Team owner Paul Allen, the
Microsoft Corp. tycoon, proved money is of little concern by firing
Mora after Leiweke had said he expected the coach to stay.

The Seahawks are hoping the splashy, marquee addition of
Carroll will ignite a notoriously rabid fan base that turned on its
team this season with constant calls for mass firings.

The opportunity is unique for Carroll. The Seahawks do not
have a GM in place, so he could have authority over football
matters like he had at USC, and far more than he would have had
filling any of the NFL coaching openings to which he’s been
connected in recent winters.

The league source, however, said the only official title
Carroll will have is “coach.”

This is also perhaps the best time to leave USC since he
arrived in 2001. Its string of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles
ended with four losses in the just-completed season. And the school
has been under several years of NCAA scrutiny for alleged
improprieties in both Carroll’s team and athletic director Mike
Garrett’s beleaguered department.

When receiver Damian Williams announced he’s entering the NFL
a year early, the news release of his departure Friday night didn’t
include a quote from Carroll, who often lavishes praise on early
entry candidates.

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 man in
the same city as his mentor. “That would be kind of fun,”
Sarkisian said. “He would do great. He’s a great coach.”

Carroll’s departure comes at a bad time for USC recruits, who
are now caught between whether to honor their commitments or
re-enter the college recruiting derby late in the process. Carroll
had already planned a team meeting for Monday afternoon, on the day
the Trojans return to class following the holiday break. Tessalone
said that meeting is still scheduled.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this
report.