Carroll accepts offer to become Seahawks' coach, leaving USC

Pete Carroll is coming back to the NFL.

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi on Monday confirmed reports that Carroll has accepted an offer to become coach of the Seattle Seahawks. The contract is expected to be signed as early as Monday, with an official announcement as early as Tuesday.

Carroll all but confirmed the move himself Monday morning.

"I had given up on it," Carroll told the Los Angeles Times about returning to the NFL after spending the last nine seasons at USC, "but it came out of nowhere."

"It" is the opportunity he is receiving with the Seahawks, who sent chief executive officer Tod Leiweke to Los Angeles to meet with Carroll over the weekend.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported late Sunday that Carroll had turned in his resignation at USC. The Times reported that USC players were informed by the school of Carroll's departure Sunday night by text message.

Carroll told The Times that his pending move wasn't a reaction to possible sanctions against USC.

"Not in any way, because I know where we stand," he said. "It's just a process we have to go through. We know we've fought hard to do right.

"I've given everything I've had. There was never going to be a good time."

A league official with direct knowledge of the coaching search told The Associated Press on Monday that Carroll has "not signed but (is) very close." The official told the AP that all that was left was to "dot the I's and cross the T's."

NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported early Saturday that the Seahawks and Carroll had reached agreement on the major principles of a contract to become coach and director of football operations.

The Seahawks interviewed Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier on Saturday, putting the team in compliance with all regulations for their coaching search, NFL officials told La Canfora. Interviewing Frazier allowed Seattle to satisfy the Rooney Rule, in which teams must interview at least one minority candidate for the job.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- speaking in Cincinnati before the Jets-Bengals wild-card playoff game on Saturday -- said he was satisfied the Seahawks had complied with league regulations.

John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance -- the organization in charge of overseeing compliance with the Rooney Rule -- said he was assured by Carroll personally that no deal was in place at the time the Seahawks interviewed Frazier.

"Do we have to fight and safeguard against shenanigans? Yes," Wooten said. "People try to play as close to the line as they can. We say to our guys, 'Don't let people use you. We all know a legitimate interview.'"

Carroll was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from 1997 to 1999 with the New England Patriots. He restored a dynasty at USC beginning in 2001.

The Times reported that the Seahawks -- owned by Microsoft Corp. tycoon Paul Allen -- are believed to be offering Carroll a five-year contract worth nearly $7 million per season and give him control of football operations. That would be a raise of more than $2 million annually on what Carroll is believed to be earning at USC.

Jason La Canfora blog

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora has the latest surrounding the Seahawks' pursuit of Pete Carroll, as well as other front-office moves from around the NFL. Check out Jason's **blog.**

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The Seahawks are 9-23 since their last playoff game in January 2008. Four weeks ago, they forced general manager and president Tim Ruskell to resign. Friday's firing of Jim Mora, who had three years and $12 million remaining on his contract, left Seattle without a coach, general manager or president less than four years after it reached the Super Bowl.

This opportunity is unique for Carroll. The Seahawks still don't have a GM, so he could conceivably have authority over football matters as he has at USC and far more than he would have had filling any of the NFL coaching openings to which he has been connected in recent winters.

Carroll could end up bringing several USC assistants with him to Seattle, according to La Canfora. New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, a former defensive coordinator and secondary coach with the Washington Redskins, also is a candidate to join the Seahawks' staff under Carroll.

Lombardi reports that Floyd Reese, the senior football adivsor for the New England Patriots and a former Tennessee Titans GM, has been added to the list of candidates for the Seahawks' vacant GM position. In addition to Reese, the Seahawks are scheduled to interviewPittsburgh Steelers executive Omar Khan, Green Bay Packers director of football operations John Schneider and New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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