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Originally published Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 7:53 PM

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Seahawks are Pete Carroll's team

Seahawks will hire a general manager soon, but the team has one voice — Pete Carroll's.

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — One voice.

That's how Pete Carroll described the singular influence he had at USC and will have within the Seahawks. One voice for players to hear and one door for them to knock on.

"That is what gives me the best chance to be the best I can be," Carroll said. "I was not going to go anywhere where I couldn't put myself in that situation. I feel exactly comfortable and free to tell you that that's how this is going to work."

Carroll will have final say of the players who do and don't make the 53-man roster in September, and he will have a voice in not only picking Seattle's new general manager but in the decisions that general manager makes.

"The collaboration that we will present to you as leading this organization is exactly what I was looking for," Carroll said. "Exactly what I needed to give the very best I can offer the Seattle Seahawks."

It became clear Tuesday that the Seahawks' collaborative approach to management actually means collaborate with Carroll.

Carroll won't report to Seattle's general manager once they hire one, he'll report to Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. The GM will report to Leiweke, but those separate branches of the franchise are not necessarily equal, and the degree of the coach's influence became clearer Tuesday.

The formal announcement of Carroll's hiring included only the position of head coach. On Monday, Carroll was characterized as vice president of football operations. Tuesday, executive vice president was included in the title when he was introduced for his first news conference.

Seattle is interviewing GM candidates this week, and Tuesday morning Leiweke was asked whether that GM will ultimately have final say over the personnel matters of draft picks, trades and free-agent signings.

"We're going to see ultimately what the candidate is," Leiweke said. "Here's one of Pete's privileges, though, he's going to sit in all the interviews with the candidates and his voice is going to count in a significant way.

"If we hadn't given him that kind of authority, I don't think he would have come. Because Pete's not yesterday's lunch. This is a man recruited by multiple other teams and ultimately chose to come our way in part because he wanted to make sure he had a good feeling."

Now, all of this amounts to organizational nitpicking over the resolution in those instances of friction between coach and general manager, which aren't all that common. The fact Carroll is part of the process of hiring the general manager eliminates most potential friction between the two. The fact Carroll has already clearly defined control over who makes the team and who doesn't further reduces that potential.


And if the two sides still end up at loggerheads, Leiweke will provide the resolution.

"Ultimately, I'm confident I'm going to get everybody to collaborate and we're going to land on the right issues," Leiweke said.

So while the Seahawks no longer have a singular position atop football operations, as was the case under Mike Holmgren and Tim Ruskell, there is one dominant voice in the direction of the franchise: Carroll's.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or

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