Seahawks fire Mora, court USC's Carroll
RENTON, Wash. — 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. ESPN.com, citing unidentified league sources, said an announcement of Carroll joining the Seahawks could come early next week.
"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 in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He was not expected in (yesterday). ... At this point, we have nothing to report."
A Seahawks spokesman inside the team's headquarters yesterday refused to comment on Carroll. Carroll did not return a phone message left by The AP.
Leiweke did not respond to an e-mail from The AP asking about Carroll, who was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from '97-99 with the New England Patriots.
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.
Hours later, the team confirmed the firing in a news release. On Sunday, 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.
HALL OF FAME
RICE, SMITH AMONG 17 FINALISTS FOR 2010
If ever two players seemed like locks to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith would be the choices.
Rice retired as the NFL's career receiving leader, and Smith finished as the top rusher. They were among 17 finalists announced yesterday for the Hall of Fame, including two senior nominees. The voting for entry into the shrine by a 44-member panel will take place Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl. The Class of 2010 will be inducted in August in Canton, Ohio.
Rice finished his career with 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns. He leads second place Marvin Harrison by 447 career receptions, and his 208 total TDs (11 rushing) are 33 more than runner-up Smith.
He is a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year for his 21-year career and also holds numerous Super Bowl records.
Like Rice, Smith won three Super Bowls. He rushed for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns. He also caught 515 passes and scored on 19 receptions. Smith was the league MVP in 1993.
WEIS SIGNS ON TO COORDINATE OFFENSE
Barely a month after getting fired at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis signed yesterday as offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he'll join two old friends in trying to revive a flagging franchise that's won only 10 games in three years.
"This marriage seemed very, very simple," Weis said. "I'm very excited to be a part of a growing process that has been started here in the last year."
In an interview on Wednesday, Weis virtually confirmed that he was coming to Kansas City to rejoin head coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli.
Patriots DB Sanders: New England defensive back James Sanders has been fined $7,500 by the NFL for unnecessary roughness. Sanders hit defenseless receiver David Anderson in last week's loss at Houston. He hit Anderson in the back as Anderson was falling, trying to make a catch in the end zone.
Cardinals LB Okeafor: Arizona linebacker Chike Okeafor was fined $7,500 for a facemask penalty on Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in Green Bay's victory last Sunday.
Rams DE Long: St. Louis defensive end Chris Long was fined $7,500 for a head-butt of tackle Chris Patrick in a loss to San Francisco last Sunday.
AFC roster change: New York Jets offensive tackle DBrickashaw Ferguson has been added to the AFC team for the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Ferguson replaces Miami Dolphins tackle Jake Long, who is out with an injury.
Ferguson is the fourth Jets player and third Jets offensive lineman on the AFC roster, joining center Nick Mangold, guard Alan Faneca and cornerback Darrelle Revis.