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Originally published January 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 18, 2008 at 8:31 PM

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Mora withdraws as candidate for Redskins coaching job

The Washington Redskins lost a contender for their coaching vacancy Friday when Seattle Seahawks assistant Jim Mora withdrew from consideration.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — If Mike Holmgren does decide to retire from the Seahawks, his heir apparent will still be in Seattle.

Jim Mora withdrew himself from consideration for the Washington Redskins' coaching vacancy and returned to the Seahawks' staff Friday. His decision came after the Redskins' owner had sent a plane to fly him east and then hosted Seattle's assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at the tycoon's guesthouse during two days of interviews.

"I want to thank the Redskins organization and owner Daniel Snyder for the opportunity to interview for the head coaching position." Mora said in a statement released by the Seahawks.

"The process reconfirmed that the quality of life for my family in Seattle is my first priority. This past year has been a great experience both professionally and personally for myself, my wife Shannon, and our kids. We are very happy members of this community and the Seattle Seahawks organization."

Holmgren added Mora, 46, to his staff soon after he was fired as head coach of the Falcons on New Year's Day, 2007, after three seasons leading Atlanta. He went to the NFC championship game in his first season there, in 2004.

Mora went to junior high and high school in the Seattle area while his father was an assistant at the University of Washington. When he returned to Seattle last year, he instantly became the assumed, eventual replacement for Holmgren.

The 59-year-old Holmgren is spending the weekend in Arizona with his wife contemplating whether to return for a 17th season as an NFL head coach. Holmgren, who would like a contract extension from the Seahawks beyond 2008, said he "perhaps" will make a decision next week.

Holmgren acknowledged throughout this past season that Mora will be a head coach again soon, though the Seahawks have tried hard to temper expectations that Mora will eventually be Seattle's head man.

Mora took a Seahawks secondary that had been victimized by big plays throughout the 2006 season and, along with newly signed safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell, made it into a unit that allowed only 15 touchdown passes in 16 regular-season games. That was Seattle's lowest total allowed in eight seasons. Veteran Marcus Trufant became a first-time Pro Bowl cornerback with Mora as his position coach.

"I think he's an excellent football coach." Holmgren said this week. "He is really a good communicator. He has great enthusiasm. The players respect him. That's all good.

"He and I have talked a lot about Atlanta, and what he thought happened in Atlanta and what I thought happened in Atlanta. ... I think the second time around, if you think about at all what happened the first time around, you should be better. And he's a smart guy."

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks interviewed for a second time on Friday with the Redskins, who have also interviewed Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Redskins assistant Gregg Williams.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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