There’s an interesting story from Pro Football Network today, courtesy of friend of the blog Tony Pauline.
“From what I’m hearing, UCLA could potentially try and court Pete Carroll, to bring Pete Carroll in as the head coach. We’ll see what happens with Pete Carroll’s job after this final week and we’ll see if [UCLA] brings back Chip Kelly or if it lets him go.”
Here’s the interesting thing. Per Cam Mellor, also of PFN, Chip Kelly’s $9m buyout expires on 15th January. The Bruins could move on without it costing them a penny.
Their rivals USC have just appointed Lincoln Riley — who is already setting about a plan to dominate recruiting in California.
UCLA trying to respond by making a splash hire is understandable given the circumstances.
It was intriguing a few weeks ago when Carroll gave an interview to Sam Farmer at the LA Times, talking about his success at USC. It came shortly after the Trojans had fired Clay Helton. The timing was curious. The Seahawks were struggling and here was Carroll speaking to the main LA football journalist about the good old days at the Coliseum.
It wasn’t too difficult to wonder whether he was lining up a return. USC, instead, made the hire to end all hires by landing Riley.
Is it beyond the realms of possibility that Carroll goes back to LA — only to UCLA instead?
It’d be weird for UCLA to target this if they didn’t think it was possible. Do they know something?
I’ve long thought Carroll wouldn’t be interested in a long rebuild minus Russell Wilson. And yet that appears to be the only future for him in Seattle because Wilson appears readier than ever to move on unless significant changes are made at the top of the franchise.
Another off-season of drama feels undesirable to say the least.
A gig like UCLA might be convenient for all concerned. It allows Carroll to depart with his reputation intact. He can go back to an area where he’s had success and continue coaching. The Seahawks can plot a new path forward — either with a coach prepared to undergo a rebuild, or one that Wilson approves of.
Tony Pauline is very well sourced and is trusted. So this is worth keeping an eye on.
UPDATE — I’ve spoken to Tony and he clarified that if Pete Carroll leaves Seattle — and that’s seen as a 50/50 proposition — people in football are speculating UCLA would court him for the Bruins job. It’s not quite as cut and dried as the article perhaps suggests.
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