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Carroll knows Bradley has traits of good head coach

reuben frank csnphilly

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

Frank

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Carroll knows Bradley has traits of good head coach

January 11, 2013, 7:00 am

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Pete Carroll knows that the same qualities that convinced him to keep Gus Bradley a few years ago are going to ultimately cause Carroll to lose Bradley.

Carroll replaced Jim Mora as head coach of the Seahawks after the 2009 season and in an unusual move, he decided to retain Bradley, who Mora had brought to Seattle from Tampa as defensive coordinator when he replaced Mike Holmgren as Seahawks head coach one year earlier.

In Tampa, Bradley worked closely with famed defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the architect of the Cover 2 defense. Kiffin and Carroll have known each other for nearly 40 years, going back to their years together at Arkansas in the late 1970s, so when Carroll got the Seattle job, he asked Kiffin about Bradley.

“I knew great things about Gus before I even arrived, because he’d worked with Monte Kiffin, and Monte had recommended him so highly,” Carroll said. “And because we had the time, I said, ‘Gus, let’s hang out, and let’s just talk football,’ and we probably took 10 days or something before we ever made a call on [keeping him]. I just wanted to get to know him.”

Those 10 days were all Carroll needed.

He kept Bradley as defensive coordinator, and three years later, the Seahawks are the hottest team in the NFL.

They’ve won six straight games, including a wild-card win over the Redskins on Sunday, headed into their conference semifinal against the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta.

And Bradley, whose defense has allowed just 14.4 points per game this year, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace Andy Reid as head coach of the Eagles.

Carroll was effusive in his praise of Bradley, whose defense was ranked No. 1 in the NFL this past season.

“He’s got a tremendous personality, he’s got a great work ethic, he’s got a brilliant football mind,” Carroll said. “He’s got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them, coaches and players alike.

“He’s got everything that you’re looking for and we’re fortunate he’s had a great three years with us now, and we’re playing the best football we’ve played. It’s really a great relationship that we’ve had and we’re very lucky to have him.”

The Eagles have not commented on Bradley beyond announcing last week that they had been granted permission from the Seahawks to interview him for their head coach vacancy.

It’s not even known at this point whether Bradley has already interviewed with the Eagles.

Coaches whose teams are still alive in the playoffs were allowed to interview for head coaching jobs this week, but they can’t officially be hired until their team is out of the playoffs or after the Super Bowl, if they reach it.

Bradley told reporters covering the Seahawks Thursday his focus right now is solely on the Falcons.

“It's flattering,” he said of the Eagles’ interest. “I know people talk about our entire focus is on Atlanta and it really is. I mean it's so important to us. We've worked so hard to get to this point, and our whole message to our team is keep raising the bar and keep getting better and better every week, and they're talking that and we're talking that, so it's easy to stay focused on it.

“It's flattering, like you've all heard before, but really our whole focus is on Atlanta and trying to do all we can to get one step closer."

The Eagles are believed to be the only team that’s formally requested permission to meet with Bradley so far. The Bears have been granted permission to interview Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was on Holmgren’s Packers staff with Reid.

The Jaguars, Cards, Bears and Chargers also have openings. The Chiefs, Bills and Browns have already replaced their deposed coaches, the Chiefs with Reid, the Bills with Doug Marrone and the Browns with Rob Chudzinski.

“It’s a real positive for the program when people want to talk to your guys,” Carroll said. “I’ve always thought that’s a real cool thing. And there’s a time and a place and both our guys are very aware of what we’re doing and what we’re in for here, and neither one of them are going to let this distract them or get in the way.

“There’s very limited opportunities for any of that. They’re not going to travel and go places and run around and all that. So in [comparison] with what we’re after right now, it’s low on their list. Both these guys feel exactly the same way about it.

“They’re both fantastic candidates, they’re equipped, they’ve got their act together, they’re going to be head coaches, whether it’s going to be now or in the near future. So we’ll see how it goes for those guys, but right now I think they’re both in a very good place about it.

“We have a huge agenda to take care of, and they’re really into. So nobody really needs to worry about them running off and running all around. They’re not going to do any of that. There’ll be very limited opportunity for those guys to be available, and everybody who’s contacted them knows that.”

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.