|"Revived" Mora wants another head coaching job - just not yet|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2007 14:18|
And he definitely doesn't look like an NFL head coach anymore. Which he isn't.
The former Atlanta Falcons coach is sprinting to the ball and then the huddle after every play made by his new Seattle Seahawks defenders. He is jumping up and down after a particularly good effort. After a bad one, he is stomping or ripping off the cap that's otherwise pulled down to just above his eyes. He gets close to the faces of his players.
Always, he is chattering.
``Good spot Josh! That's what I want to see!'' Mora bellows to rookie Josh Wilson, the team's top draft choice.
``Good, god dangit!'' he yells after a pass is broken up.
``Let's always jog it back to the huddle!'' he commands, arriving in the huddle before most of the defense.
``That's the thing that's so awesome about Jim. He has so much enthusiasm, so much energy,'' said new Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney, who played for Mora in Atlanta.
``He hasn't wavered at all. That's what I love about him.''
Uh, guys, it's a minicamp. Four months still remain before the season begins for the Seahawks, for whom Mora is a new defensive backs coach and assistant head coach to Mike Holmgren.
``Ever since I was born, this has been a fabric of my life. I love being out here,'' said Mora, the son of the former NFL coach with the same name.
``There's no place I'd rather be. Well ... I'd rather be with my family,'' the husband and father of four said. ``But this is second. A close second.''
That second love bit back on New Year's Day. The Falcons fired Mora after consecutive late-season collapses followed their appearance in the NFC championship game during the 2004 season, Mora's rookie year as a head coach.
But the former defensive assistant with the Chargers, Saints and 49ers stayed in demand. Within weeks, the Dolphins hosted Mora for two interviews about replacing Nick Saban. As Miami courted Mora, Holmgren approached offering a return to the city in which he grew up.
``I thought I was in a win-win situation,'' Mora said. ``I was either going to get the opportunity to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, or come back to my favorite place on earth, Seattle, and coach for a team my dad coached for years and years ago.''
When Miami chose Cam Cameron, Mora chose Seattle. It's where he went to junior high and high school before walking on to Don James' team as a linebacker at the University of Washington in the early 1980s.
``To be quite frank, it's kind of a dream for me. It really is,'' Mora said. ``I love it.''
But as an assistant? He said he is still adjusting to that.
``I loved being a head coach and I hope at some point I get that chance again. But one of the things you do miss as a head coach is getting that chance, the dirty work, the hands-on,'' he said. ``It's refreshed me, revived me.''
Many see Mora as the perfect heir for Holmgren, who turns 59 next month and has two years remaining on a contract extension he signed before last season. Holmgren considered retiring after the Seahawks' Super Bowl season of 2005, but returned after Seattle's bitter loss in the title game.
Perhaps to quell that buzz, the team has downplayed Mora's presence. Confirmation of his hiring came in a brief e-mail on a Sunday morning in January. There was no news conference. Mora had not conducted an interview as a Seahawk until Wednesday's impromptu session outside the backdoor of team headquarters.
``I'm an assistant coach. There is no need for me to be anything but a guy that just does his job and does the best he can,'' Mora said. ``I don't need to be in front of the media all the time. I did that as a head coach.''
So Mora is dutifully deferring to Holmgren, whom he called ``the face of the franchise.''
When asked if anyone from the Seahawks has discussed him eventually becoming Holmgren's successor, Mora flatly said ``No.''
``No. Really, I'm just excited about being a Seahawk, being back in Seattle,'' he said.
``I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't interested in being a head coach again, having gotten a taste of it.''
He got a taste of turmoil in December. He told a Seattle radio station he'd drop everything to become the coach at Washington. Tyrone Willingham will soon begin his third season there.
Mora's comments got so much attention in Atlanta, he spent the day before a loss to Dallas explaining himself. He did so again on Wednesday, a few miles directly east across Lake Washington from where Willingham works.
``We've talked,'' Mora said. ``Since Tyrone got that job, I've been nothing but 100 percent supportive of him. And I felt really bad that in any way I took away from what he is trying to do here, or made it seem like I wanted his job, because I don't. I want him to have success and I expressed that to him.
``Like I said and I've said many times, I just used poor judgment. ... So I felt it was important to talk to Tyrone about that. He knows I support him and I support the University of Washington.
``Right now I'm extremely excited about the situation I'm in.''