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Mora is fired by Seahawks

USC’s Carroll may be front-runner

Associated Press / January 9, 2010

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The Seattle Seahawks fired Jim Mora after just one season yesterday, leaving the former NFC West champs without a coach, general manager, and president less than four years after they reached the Super Bowl.

Speculation on Mora’s replacement immediately centered on Southern California coach Pete Carroll.

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview Carroll for the job.

Carroll was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from 1997-99 with the Patriots.

“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. “At this point, we have nothing to report.’’

One reason Carroll might leave this time is the program remains under NCAA scrutiny for alleged improprieties. And standout receiver Damian Williams announced yesterday he’s skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, joining star tailback Joe McKnight.

Leiweke, acting on the orders of owner Paul Allen, fired Mora during a morning meeting at team headquarters, ending a four-week internal evaluation the CEO conducted of his floundering franchise.

Mora finished his only season in Seattle 5-11, after taking over his hometown team at the end of Mike Holmgren’s tenure. Mora had three years and almost $12 million remaining on his contract.

“We’ve made a tough decision today,’’ Leiweke said. “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.’’

Seattle is 9-23 since its last playoff appearance in January 2008, after four consecutive NFC West titles.

“This team, more importantly this community, means so much to me that it hurts not being able to see this through,’’ Mora said in a statement.

GM and president Tim Ruskell took the initial fall for the Seahawks’ flop when he was fired Dec. 3.

Weis joins Chiefs
Barely a month after getting fired at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis signed on as offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he’ll join two old friends - head coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli - in trying to revive a flagging franchise that’s won only 10 games in three years.

“This marriage seemed very, very simple,’’ said Weis, 53, “I’m very excited to be a part of a growing process that has been started here in the last year.’’

Pioli was a front office executive in New England when Weis was offensive coordinator for the Patriots’ four Super Bowl teams, and Weis shared a small office with Haley for three years when they were Jets assistants.

Rice, Smith Hall finalists
Jerry Rice, who retired as the NFL’s career receiving leader, and Emmitt Smith, who finished as the top rusher, were among 17 finalists announced for the Hall of Fame. Other finalists include receiver Tim Brown and fellow wideouts Cris Carter and Andre Reed . . . Bills owner Ralph Wilson confirmed the team has spoken to Bill Cowher about its coaching vacancy, but said he isn’t sure if the former Steelers coach is interested in the job. Though Cowher has been widely speculated as being a candidate for the Bills job, Wilson was the first person to publicly say the Bills have spoken to him. Cowher, who works as an NFL analyst for CBS, has declined to discuss his future . . . The NFL handed down $7,500 fines to Cardinals linebacker Chike Okeafor for a facemask penalty on Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in Green Bay’s victory last Sunday and to Rams defensive end Chris Long for a head-butt of 49ers tackle Chris Patrick . . . New Browns president Mike Holmgren has interviewed Seattle pro personnel director Will Lewis to be Cleveland’s general manager. Holmgren previously worked with Lewis in Green Bay and Seattle.

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