Falcons Become Latest NFL Team to Try to Lure Carroll From USC

The Atlanta Falcons are the latest NFL team reported to be interested in USC Coach Pete Carroll, but many people around the league would be shocked to see Carroll end up in Atlanta.

Carroll talks to NFL teams almost annually. Last year, he spoke to owner Wayne Huizenga about the Miami Dolphins' coaching job. But so far, no job has been good enough to prompt him to leave Southern California, and there's little reason to believe things will be different when it comes to the Falcons.

The Falcons can offer Carroll one thing that he covets--total control over a franchise's football operations. The club is searching for a general manager as well as a head coach, and Carroll could be given both roles. But the Falcons are a long way from being a winner and don't even have an established quarterback, so it's doubtful that owner Arthur Blank could pry Carroll away from the college football powerhouse he oversees at USC.

What is perhaps most surprising is that Blank is even talking to a college coach after the fiasco he just endured with Bobby Petrino, who resigned 13 games into his rookie season as an NFL coach to leave the Falcons and return to the college ranks. Carroll is a bit different, having been an NFL head coach with the New England Patriots and New York Jets. But he's a hot commodity because of what he's done as a college coach, not what he once did as a pro coach, and there undoubtedly would be a learning curve if he were to return to the professional game.

The Falcons have interviewed four NFL assistants--Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Tony Sparano, Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. They're scheduled to interview Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the coming days and also are thought to be interested in San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary, a finalist for their coaching job last year before they hired Petrino.

By Mark Maske |  January 10, 2008; 9:23 AM ET  | Category:  Falcons
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Why would Pete Carroll do this, for any team? He tried it with the NE Pats 10 years ago, was not very successful, and was quite clearly not happy. But at USC he loves his job, is paid well, and has total control over player personnel, other than the ability to offer them lavish contracts in free agency (but apparently the boosters can help him with that).

Would he rather be remembered as a great college football coach or a mediocre pro coach? Even Spurrier figured out the better course.

Posted by: ah | January 10, 2008 10:29 AM

The Atlanta Falcons made a huge mistake with Michael Vick that has set back their franchise by years. They neglected to manage their primary football assette and then acted surprised when the dog fighting news broke. That was bad business plain and simple. Pete Carrol would be wise to stay away from Atlanta.

Posted by: 4th and punt | January 12, 2008 3:16 PM

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