An emotional and teary Tim Ruskell announced this morning that he had reached an agreement with Seahawks CECO Tod Leiweke to step down as the team’s general manager with five games left in the season.
Leiweke cited the exacting standards of owner Paul Allen as one of the primary reasons for the team making the decision at this time, along with Ruskell pushing to seek clarity on what his role would be with the team in the future. Ruskell was in the final year of a five-year contract with the team, and the Seahawks had not offered to re-sign him to a new contract.
“Quite simply we didn’t win enough games,” Leiweke said. “And I think that when you’re 4-12, there’s obviously expectations that follow that in the next season, and we simply didn’t win enough games.”
Leiweke said the Seahawks vice president of player personnel, Ruston Webster, will serve as the interim general manager, and will be considered as a candidate. And the search will begin immediately for Ruskell’s replacement.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done, and what we did,” Ruskell said. “And I wish the new phase had gone quicker, but it didn’t and that’s the way the NFL works.”
Leiweke credited Ruskell for helping to get the organization on the right track, creating a culture of accountability that allowed the Seahawks to make a Super Bowl run in his first season as the team’s general manager, and also helping to facilitate the team building one of the best headquarters in the league here in Renton.
“Certainly there were challenges,” Leiweke said. “But there were an amazing amount of things achieved.”
Along with the Super Bowl appearance, the Seahawks made the playoffs three times during Ruskell’s tenure, and finished with a 40-38 record. However, since the 2008 season the Seahawks are 8-19.
Leiweke would not address the potential of Mike Holmgren as a candidate, stating that they will go through an in-house evaluation process of the organization before interviewing potential candidates.