RUMORS SPREAD THAT CARROLL-TO-CHARGERS IS A DONE DEAL
There is increasing talk in league circles regarding suspicions that the San Diego Chargers already have a secret deal in place with USC coach Pete Carroll.
Folks are pointing to some of the same facts we outlined on Monday night, after word broke that Marty Schottenheimer had been fired. Some think that the most convincing proof was/is USC assistant Steve Sarkisian's abrupt about-face with the Raiders, followed days later by the decision of his former Trojan colleague, Lane Kiffin, to take the job.
Why else, the theory goes, would Kiffin take a job that Sarkisian didn't want unless they both knew that Carroll wasn't long for the USC gig, and that Sarkisian, not Kiffin, had been hand-picked to replace him?
Others are pointing to the fact that the first guy to be interviewed is Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who has no head-coaching experience but who helps the Chargers satisfy the Rooney Rule quickly, in the event that the Pete Carroll cat gets out of the bag prematurely and none of the minority candidates agree to sit for the job. (See Detroit Lions and Steve Mariucci.)
We're also told that there is worry among the incoming class of USC recruits regarding the possibility that Carroll is leaving. But Pete has opted not to even address the situation publicly.
If he were not going to be the San Diego coach, he could easily say so. The fact that he has said nothing at all speaks volumes, in our view. Especially since he now has a couple dozen nervous high school seniors who signed papers seven days ago under the assumption that the head coach would be sticking around for at least the next month.
Stay tuned. We predict that the Chargers will go through the motions with several candidates, and that Carroll will then swoop in out of the blue as the guy.
If that happens, look for Pat Kirwan to soon follow him -- and for G.M. A.J. Smith to definitely get the boot after the draft.
2004: 2 League's 2 Championships
2005: 2 League's 2nd place and 6th place
2006: 1 league 2nd place