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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Ruskell: From one fire to another?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The rapport between Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider has helped establish a more comfortable working environment at team headquarters.

That was obvious during the recently concluded draft.

Carroll and Schneider kidded each other without fear of offending anyone. One scout I spoke with said the atmosphere was especially healthy, noting that Carroll and Schneider set the tone through similar senses of humor. I sensed this was more than simply what happens when new leadership takes over and no one has lost a game or taken much criticism.

The head coach, GM and higher-profile assistant coaches generally emerge from the draft room to answer reporters' questions about recently drafted prospects. The Seahawks made that happen, but they also gave rare exposure to little-seen area scouts when they sent Matt Berry and Jason Barnes out to discuss players the team had drafted. Those types of gestures resonate with others working in the shadows.

Carroll and Schneider were comfortable letting others share the credit.

All of this is relevant in Seattle after management pointed to infighting as a problem under the team's previous leadership.

Those issues came to mind Tuesday when the Chicago Sun-Times cited "unrest" and a near-fistfight in the Bears' draft room amid mounting tension in the organization. The team announced college scouting director Greg Gabriel's long-anticipated departure Tuesday, clearing the way for former Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell to come aboard in another long-anticipated move.

Sounds like Ruskell could be going from one unhealthy environment to another. No word yet on whether he might bring along any of his friends from Seattle. Establishing a healthier culture in Chicago would presumably rank as a high priority for Ruskell given his experiences in Seattle.