Saturday, January 9, 2010
Seahawks' Rooney Rule dance continues
By Mike Sando
The Seahawks' attempts to court USC coach Pete Carroll without violating the Rooney Rule appears awkward, as outlined in this report from SI.com's Jim Trotter.
John Wooten, chair of the Fritz Pollard Alliance promoting diversity in NFL hiring, sheds light on the Seahawks' attempts to interview Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, a move that would satisfy the Rooney Rule requiring teams to consider minority candidates.
It's a tough sell when everyone knows -- or at least thinks -- Carroll is the man Seattle wants for the job.
According to Wooten, Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke told him the Seahawks would not be willing to give Carroll as much control as Mike Holmgren wielded as coach and general manager from 1999 to 2002. That assurance was apparently a signal to Frazier that the Seahawks were not willing to hire Carroll unconditionally.
Compliance with the Rooney Rule in this case seems tricky. The Seahawks might not have been willing to fire Mora until they were reasonably sure they could get the coach they wanted, presumably Carroll. They couldn't know whether they could get Carroll without approaching him and exploring possibilities.
The team could not have fulfilled the Rooney Rule while Mora was still the head coach.
Frazier shouldn't be expected to play along just to help Seattle get through the process. As Trotter noted in a followup tweet, "Leslie Frazier will back out of interview with Seahawks on [Saturday] unless he 1st receives assurances that Pete Carroll WON'T have total control."
The Seahawks cannot allow another candidate to dictate terms of any future agreements, but they also cannot comply with the Rooney Rule without interviewing Frazier or another minority candidate.
Fun times for Leiweke.