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Friday, January 25, 2008
Zorn leaves Seattle to become offensive coordinator in Washington

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Zorn has accepted an offer to become offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, sources said.

Zorn, 54, has coached quarterbacks for the Seattle Seahawks since 2001. He was previously quarterbacks coach for Detroit from 1998 to 2000.

Zorn's hiring comes as the Redskins continue their search for a head coach.

Zorn reportedly met with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder this week. He returned to Seattle, spoke with the Seahawks about a new deal and decided the Redskins' offer provided his best option. Zorn's deal with Washington is expected to cover three years.

Seattle's offensive staff has enjoyed remarkable stability during Mike Holmgren's nine-year run as head coach. But with Holmgren deciding to step down after the 2008 season, key staff members are considering their options.

Jim Mora, the Seahawks' secondary coach and assistant head coach, is a leading candidate to succeed Holmgren. The Seahawks have already lost receivers coach Nolan Cromwell and offensive quality-control coach Gary Reynolds to Mike Sherman's new staff at Texas A&M. Seattle also hired former Kansas City offensive coordinator Mike Solari to coach the offensive line, replacing Bill Lavernoni, who was not retained.

On the defensive side, former coordinator Ray Rhodes, a consultant in recent seasons, is headed to the Houston Texans as a defensive assistant.

Zorn was previously an offensive coordinator at Utah State from 1992 to 1994. He coached quarterbacks at Boise State from 1988-91, and quarterbacks at Minnesota from 1995-96. His first NFL coaching job was as an offensive assistant with Seattle in 1997.

Zorn's departure comes as Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is coming off one of his finest seasons. Hasselbeck has credited Zorn for helping with his development into a four-time Pro Bowl passer. He has specifically credited Zorn as a steadying influence during difficult stretches, including when Hasselbeck lost his starting job in 2001.

Zorn is one of nine former Seahawks enshrined in the team's Ring of Honor. He became the team's first starting quarterback in 1976, when Seattle entered the NFL as an expansion franchise. He played nine seasons for the team, earning a reputation as a scrambling playmaker and improviser.

Zorn's creativity was also apparent in his years as an assistant coach, Holmgren has said. It was not immediately clear who would replace Zorn in Seattle.

The Seahawks were 2-0 in playoff games against the Redskins with Zorn coaching quarterbacks.

Mike Sando covers the NFL for ESPN.com.