By Gregg Bell AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE — Mike Holmgren wants to talk to the Seahawks about coming back.
Seattle’s former coach and one-time general manager said Friday during his semi-weekly radio show in Seattle that he’d like to talk to Seahawks owner Paul Allen and chief executive officer Tod Leiweke about becoming the team’s GM and perhaps president.
Those titles became vacant on Thursday when the Seahawks forced Tim Ruskell to resign weeks before his five-year contract was to end.
“Absolutely, I would like to talk to them,” Holmgren said on KJR AM from Arizona, where he has one of his homes.
The 61-year-old former Super Bowl-winning coach with Green Bay is the Seahawks’ longest-tenured and winningest coach. He spent 1999-08 remaking Seattle into an NFC champion during the 2005 season and a perennial playoff team until its fall the last two years.
Holmgren acknowledged it was a “weird” circumstance that finds him a candidate to return to the Seahawks one year after he took 2009 off to fulfill a promise he’d made to his wife and family, after his coaching contract with Seattle ended in January.
Cleveland and Buffalo are two other teams that have been linked to interest in Holmgren, who hasn’t decided whether he wants to come back as a coach or as an executive. Other teams could be angling for him soon, too.
None has the inherent advantages present in Seattle, where Holmgren still owns a home, where his family is now rooted — and where Holmgren still has experience with and detailed knowledge of the roster.
“I think I’ve made it pretty clear I’d like to go back to work after this season. I didn’t know where. This is a little bit of a surprising development in Seattle,” he said.
“But I’ve also said this, that the people and the team has to want you. The situation has to be right, the opening has to be right. And that’s why I’ve tried to keep an open mind, not get too emotional about it … This is not news: my family is there, I have a strong attachment to the city and my time there. But I also know things change. You never know. The organization has to feel you’re the right fit.
“If the fit is right, who knows?”
With a teary-eyed Ruskell seated to his left on Thursday, Leiweke was asked if Holmgren was a candidate to replace the architect of Seattle’s 8-19 record the last two seasons.
“I’m just not going to go there,” Leiweke said of Holmgren. “I’m just not going to talk about that today.”
Leiweke said he expects Jim Mora, who replaced Holmgren in January, is close to Ruskell and has three more years remaining on his contract, to remain Seattle’s coach.
The Seahawks have hired a national search firm to help them find a new GM. Holmgren thinks Leiweke, with his business acumen, is already fulfilling the traditional duties of an NFL team president.
Holmgren said one of his grown daughters did research on the organizational structure of each NFL team before this season. She prepared a book for him that he’s studied to learn which teams have the traditional separation of president, GM and coach and how many are like the Seahawks, which had Ruskell as both the president and GM.
Holmgren said as he talks to teams for a return in 2010 he will be keenly interested in “how the owner and organization wants to set it up … I’d have to have a fair about of input in the major decisions.”
Leiweke said the search to replace Ruskell has already started.
“I will tell you this, that there’s going to be a process,” Leiweke said. “We’re going to do a thorough audit of this football team and we’re going to be very, very careful going forward to ensure that we find just the right person to lead the organization.”