Tim Ruskell and Mike Holmgren were good for one another in the beginning.
Ruskell, hired as the Seahawks' president in 2005, helped Holmgren build upon what he started in Seattle, pushing the team to Super Bowl XL.
Neither one is good for the other right now.
Ruskell stands between Holmgren and the job Holmgren says he would love to have if, you know, something were to come available. Ruskell lacks a contract beyond this season, so it's uncomfortable when Holmgren, one of the most revered figures in franchise history, repeatedly expresses a desire to return.
It's every man for himself with half the season yet to play.
Ruskell defends his record during a recently posted Q&A with the team's Web site. He singles out 2005 through 2007 -- his first three years with the team -- as the golden era of Seahawks football, pointing out unnecessarily how the team failed to win a playoff game from 1985 through the 2004 season. He defends the Seahawks' struggles this season by pointing to the records for other teams that likewise made significant changes after last season. He mentions having a two-year plan beginning with Jim Mora taking over for Holmgren as head coach this season. There's even an indirect dig at Holmgren, known for his unwavering allegiance to the West Coast offense, when Ruskell lauds Mora for not being rigid in his philosophy.
It comes off as self-serving, but Holmgren might have him beat.
Holmgren discusses the NFL and the Seahawks each week during an in-season show with KJR radio in Seattle. Asked what he thinks about an "overwhelming attitude" among fans "clamoring" for his return to Seattle's front office, Holmgren says he would love to indulge fans' wishes "in a perfect world" that would by definition not include Ruskell in his current role.
"Thank you to those people who care about us that way," Holmgren says. "And then I would also say that, you know, in a perfect world, if I could set up my perfect thing, sure, we would like to stay. I'm not a big one on moving and we have found a home in Seattle. But look, it's the NFL and often times, most times, you don't get to make that call. You have to listen and go where the opportunity presents itself."
These comments are part of a pattern. Holmgren has previously said he would like to rejoin the organization in a leadership role. It should be beneath Holmgren to fuel speculation about possibly rejoining the Seahawks when everyone knows a return would come at Ruskell's expense.
It's fitting that Holmgren is spending time at his Phoenix-area home while Ruskell and the Seahawks visit the Cardinals in Week 10. Ruskell can't escape Holmgren's shadow even when he's on the road.
I don't know if the Seahawks would strongly consider bringing back Holmgren in 2010. Going that route would complicate life for Mora. The subject is a hot one even without Ruskell and Holmgren bringing it up on their own.
Should be an eventful next few months.