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Closer look at Seahawks' GM candidates

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By PFW staff

The Seahawks are in the midst of interviewing candidates for their vacant general manager position, which opened up with the resignation of Tim Ruskell on Dec. 3. Seattle hired Pete Carroll as head coach and executive vice president earlier this week.

We look at the qualifications of the four candidates who have interviewed for the GM position, along with Pat Kirwan, who is expected to land in Seattle in some type of support role. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Omar Khan, Steelers business & football administration coordinator

At age 33, Khan came into Seattle with the most to prove and as the least-heralded candidate, as he's a selfless non-promoter. Those familiar with Khan from his time in Pittsburgh, where he has been a part of two Super Bowl championships, say he understands the game at every level, having spent time in coaching, scouting, negotiating contracts and overseeing the football operations. He is held in very high regard in league circles for his diversified experience, but his youth could work against him despite the great success he has achieved at an early age. Khan and Steelers personnel boss Kevin Colbert remain closely tied to Bill Cowher.

Pat Kirwan, NFL.com analyst

Kirwan has a storied history with Pete Carroll and raised many eyebrows around the league in 2003 when it was revealed in court testimony involving agent David Dunn that Kirwan had accepted a 40 percent commission from Dunn for steering QB Carson Palmer to Dunn. Kirwan is a veteran coach and administrator who has not worked for an NFL club since he left the Jets in 1997, where he served as the assistant pro personnel director for Carroll and the director of player administration under Rich Kotite and Bill Parcells. He has served as a member of the media for the last 12 years, contributing to various media platforms with insightful analysis. A longtime, trusted confidant of Carroll's, Kirwan is expected to land in Seattle in some capacity, although league executives envision a role developing along the lines of football research director Ernie Adams in New England, as Carroll's right hand, not as a GM overseeing all operations.

Floyd Reese, Patriots senior football advisor

Clearly the most experienced candidate of the group, with experience coaching, scouting, administrating and negotiating contracts, Reese is believed to be the front-runner for the position, having the most well-rounded experience and strong West Coast ties from his playing days as All-America defensive tackle at UCLA. Having coached with Carroll for a year in 1985 with the Vikings and regularly scouted players at USC, Reese has maintained a strong working relationship with the former Trojans head coach. He had difficulty landing another position in the NFL after gambling on Pacman Jones' elite talent, which left the Titans organization with a public-relations black eye. The Titans were also pushing the envelope to stay under the salary cap under his watch, but league executives say it has been a pleasure working with Reese, who is "always smiling," and that even though he did not fit the initial profile of the candidate they were seeking and was not on the initial list of candidates to be interviewed, he emerged as a "safe" choice for Seahawks ownership. 

Marc Ross, Giants director of college scouting

After being named the youngest college scouting director in the NFL by the Eagles at age 27, Ross has helped direct very solid drafts in Buffalo and New York, including a stellar class that helped spark the Giants' Super Bowl run. The Princeton graduate first made his mark by recommending Brian Westbrook to the Eagles, and he is known in league circles for his keen eye for talent and evaluation instincts. League executives say it is not a matter of if, but when, the 35-year-old will be running his own team, with his age, similar to Khan's, being all that is holding him back. He is regarded as one of the faster-rising, up-and-comers in the industry. 

John Schneider, Packers director of football operations

A 17-year NFL veteran, Schneider has a wealth of experience for his age, having first been brought into the NFL by well-regarded Packers GM Ron Wolf. He has worked with some of the NFL's more respected coaches — from Mike Holmgren to Marty Schottenheimer to Mike McCarthy — and has experience assembling his own staff, as he did in Washington when he hired current Seahawks pro scout Tag Ribary. Having experience previously working in Seattle is regarded as a plus that will allow for a more seamless transition. League executives say his energetic personality and charm mesh very well with Carroll. His ability to listen and build consensus were also cited as great strengths. Having played a key role in the selection of Packers Pro Bowl QB Aaron Rodgers, at a time when the Seahawks will need to address the position, was also mentioned as a reason Schneider could entice Seahawks brass.

 

PFW has launched its brand-new NFL Draft Newsletter series, with the second issue now ready for mailing. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format.

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