Mora Ready for Hometown Redemption

The Seahawks head into training camp 2007 with a number of new additions, and when the topic of their impact arises, many point to free agent defensive end Patrick Kerney, or safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell, or rookie cornerback Josh Wilson. But there's another newcomer on the sidelines who could make the biggest difference: Jim Mora, assistant head coach/secondary.

Mora intentionally kept a low profile after his hiring in January, and didn't address the media until after the draft. Why? He may have talked himself out of his last job, as head coach of the Falcons. In the fall of 2006, Mora was interviewed on a Seattle radio station by his former University of Washington teammate Hugh Millen. When asked if he'd ever consider becoming the head coach at his alma mater, Mora said he'd drop everything to take the job.

When Atlanta fans and Falcons management heard of his comments, he came under immediate pressure. The Falcons lost their last three games and Mora was fired after his third season.

It was all in jest, he said.

"I used poor judgment," Mora said. "To think I'd want to leave an NFL head coaching job in the middle of a playoff run and go back to a college, in my mind, was such a ludicrous statement that I thought it would be taken as such. But I used poor judgment in saying it the way I did."

But the firing put him on the job market, and he was snapped up by Seahawk GM Tim Ruskell, who formerly worked in the front office of the Falcons. Mora said the hiring allowed him to "come back to my favorite place on earth ... Seattle."

Mora's energy and enthusiasm is visible on the practice field. He's also expected to add a few wrinkles to the Seahawks defensive scheme. The Seahawk defensive staff now features four assistants with coordinator credentials: Mora, Jim Marshall (current coordinator), Larry Marmie and Ray Rhodes.

Players have been impressed with his style. "He is having a good time," said linebacker Lofa Tatupu. "He is always smiling and joking around. He is out there trying to compete, too. He wants to go out there and play just as much as everybody else. It is fun out there and he brings a little life to practice."

Mike Holmgren's contract runs two more seasons. He's taken teams to three Super Bowls, and speculation is that the 59-year-old coach might be interested in retiring when this contract expires.

If that means that Mora is positioning himself to take over for Holmgren, he's learned not to make comments about it.

"I'm just excited about being a Seahawk and being back in Seattle," Mora said. "I don't think you can predict the future and I'm not going to live in the future. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't interested in being a head coach again, but right now, I'm extremely excited about being in the situation I'm in."

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