Pro Football Talk wrote:RUSKELL SUDDENLY A SEATTLE FRONTRUNNER?
Word out of Seattle is that the brain trust responsible for the search for a new president of football operations could be seriously considering a candidate who had not previously been on the radar screen.
Falcons assistant G.M. Tim Ruskell.
We're hearing that the search committee is now getting some advice from Falcons G.M. Rich McKay, and that McKay is pushing Ruskell hard for the job.
Of course, this causes some to wonder why, if Ruskell is so good, McKay is trying to nudge him out of the nest. Sure, things can get a little uncomfortable after the No. 2 has been under consideration for a promotion elsewhere for a couple of years and the No. 2 guy begins to think he's stagnating (e.g., Ozzie Newsome and Phil Savage), but if there was a looming problem when both McKay and Ruskell were working in Tampa, why would McKay have brought him to Atlanta?
Maybe McKay is genuinely selfless, or perhaps McKay (a below-the-radar candidate for the Commissioner's gig once Tagliabue retires) is trying to ensure that other teams will be in good hands if/when he ascends to the league's top job.
Either way, look for Ruskell's name to surface soon among a list that continues to get longer -- and also look for Ruskell to be one of the last men standing for the job.
I'm not sure, but I don't think Ruskell even interview for the 49ers gig. I think he was mentioned as a candidate there and in Cleveland this past off-season, but on John York's nationwide interviewing tour, I don't think Ruskell ever sat down for an interview.
I'm surprised Ruskell hasn't been getting more bites. He has to be one of the top candidates in the league. I can see how many would put a guy like Savage ahead of him, but I can't think of too many other GM candidates that would be higher than Ruskell aroudn the league. According to some sources, only three years ago (spring 2002), it looked like Ruskell would be the GM in the Atlanta, since the team didn't look like we were going to get McKay.
He would mark the 2nd "disciple" of McKay to get a GM gig. The first is Jerry Angelo, in Chicago. And maybe it's Angelo which is hurting Ruskell's chances. Angelo is not well-received on a leaguewide basis. Whether that's personality or just competence, but most don't think Angelo is doing a great job in Chicago.
I put no credence in the fraying work relationship of Ruskell and McKay. They are long-time friends, having known each other since 1975.
If Ruskell departs, then I think the probably replacements are John Idzik or Ruston Webster. Idzik serves as a semi-Asst. GM behind Rod Graves in Arizona. He was the Asst. GM in Tampa Bay for a few years under McKay. Webster is the director of college scouting for the Bucs currently, and is a long-term McKay associate. If not Webster, then maybe Tampa's pro personnel guy Mark Dominik. Dominik's tenure in TB wasn't as long as Websters, and if he was hired, it would likely mean that Ron Hill is going to be right out the door after him. Another possibility of course is promotion from within, which would likely be Phil Emery, the current Dir. of College Scouting here. This will only be his 2nd year in Atlanta, and working with McKay, but its a possibility worth mentioning.