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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



December 2, 2009 at 10:52 PM

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Breaking news: Tim Ruskell on the way out

Posted by Danny O'Neil

  • Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell to resign
    By Danny O'Neil, The Seattle Times

    Seahawks president Tim Ruskell is expected to announce his resignation at a press conference the Seahawks have called for Thursday morning at the team's headquarters in Renton.

    Ruskell is in the last year of a five-year contract he signed with the franchise in 2005.

    In his first year as president, the Seahawks won a franchise record 13 games and made the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history with a defense that included five starters acquired by Ruskell.

    The Seahawks won four playoff games in his first three seasons as president, however, Seattle's success receded over the course of his tenure. In 2006, the Seahawks went to overtime of a divisional playoff game in Chicago. In 2007, Seattle was blown out in a divisional playoff loss in Green Bay.

    Seattle went 4-12 last year, its worst record since a 2-14 season of 1991. The Seahawks are currently 4-7 and have won just once on the road this season.

    In his time in charge of Seattle's personnel decisions, Ruskell distinguished himself in his selection of linebacker. He chose three-time Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu in the second round of the 2005 draft, his first as Seattle's president. He also chose Leroy Hill in the third round of that draft.

    He also was in charge when Seattle lost guard Steve Hutchinson without any compensation in 2006, and traded a first-round pick for the right to sign Deion Branch to a large contract, a decision that has not paid off.

    In five years, Tatupu is the only Pro Bowler drafted by Ruskell.

    Ruskell sought a resolution to his future, seeking an extension or some type of answer in recent months. His resignation will come with five games left in the regular season and leaves an opening and speculation will immediately shift to Mike Holmgren.

    Holmgren coached the Seahawks for 10 years until taking this year off. He has clearly stated his desire to return to the league in some capacity, but has not decided whether it is as coach or general manager. It's believed the Seahawks would be his first preference.

    Update: OK, I've finished filing my story for the paper, and there are two notes that deserve to be made here:

    1) If you don't read SeahawkAddicts you should. Not just because they have cool graphics, but because he's got an ear for what is going on and there is no better example than tonight. I was sitting on my couch doing my darnedest to finish up last Sunday's New York Times crossword -- and I'm almost there -- and I'm checking Twitter (or as my father-in-law calls it "the Twitters") and I see a Tweet from SeahawkAddicts that he's heard whispers of a big announcement coming tomorrow. Well, now even a man in the midst of a crossword knows that given the current state of the Seahawks season, the possibility of big news can mean only one thing, and it's not that Edgerrin James is coming back. That started a string of texty-phone-call-reporting, which produces a mish-mash of reports that yes, in fact, something is happening. Turns out it was something very big as the president and general manager is going to be stepping down tomorrow.

    Here's the point. The folks over at SeahawkAddicts had gotten wind of this before any other reporter that I know of and deserve a tip of the cap in their direction. One of the truly cool things about the rise of Internet journalism is that it gives a voice and outlet to so many people to provide insight into what is going on. So consider that an endorsement for reading the blog and following them on the Twitters: http://twitter.com/seahawkaddicts.

    2) The fact that ProFootballWeekly.com reported on Sunday Ruskell had been told he was on the way out has to be addressed. I've already had several people tell me that the report wasn't right, that it only helped further agitate an unsettled situation, and we can get into all sorts of semantic debates about whether Ruskell had been formally told he would not be re-signed as president after the season.

    Pro Football Weekly reported Sunday that Ruskell had been told he wasn't coming back, and on Thursday the fact Ruskell is not coming back is expected to be formally announced.

    Perhaps the location of Pro Football Weekly's pitch wasn't perfect. It could be that Ruskell was told there would be no one-year extension or short-term resolution instead of being told unequivocally he wouldn't be back, but the location of Pro Football Weekly's report appears pretty spot on, and that should be acknowledged.

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