Former Seahawks head coach Jim Mora talked to KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler and Hugh Millen on the radio this afternoon for about an hour, rehashing the events of the last four days, which included the Seahawks relieving him of head coaching duties on Friday.
Mora was open and honest, as he always has been during his discussions with the media, talking at length about the events that eventually led to his firing, and what his plans are for the future.
“I was blown away,” Mora said about his firing.
Mora said he had felt uneasy all week after the season ended against Tennessee, but that he was reassured by team CEO Tod Leiweke before Wednesday’s end-of-the-season press conference.
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“I didn’t figure I’d be put out to do a press conference if things were going to change,” Mora said. “That doesn’t usually happen in this business. They kind of fire you on Monday or Tuesday, and they move on. So I’m thinking I’m in good shape.”
But Mora said that on Friday morning he had a meeting on with Leiweke, where he was told the team was letting him go.
“Besides being my former boss, he’s a good friend,” Mora said about Leiweke. “He came into my office about 9:05, and I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t have good news. And he said, ‘We’re going to make a change.’ And we sat and talked for a few minutes, 20 minutes maybe, and he was emotional. He was upset. I wasn’t. I’ve been through this. I’m a man. I’m a professional. I think sometimes it harder to be the guy bringing the news rather than taking the news.”
Mora said that Leieweke told him that Paul Allen wanted to make a change.
“I was really shocked,” Mora said. “I’d never seen it happen like this before where a guy gets one year. Takes over a 4-12 team. Goes 5-11. Has some of the situations we had and gets fired. So I was very stunned.
“I don’t know that it’s even hit me yet. I felt like it’s kind of a dream. Although when I went and cleaned out my office on Saturday there was a little finality to that.”
Mora went on to talk about the problems the Seahawks faced coming off a 4-12 campaign, and all he injuries that Seattle had to deal with in 2008 and 2009, which had an affect on the team’s play on the field.
“The issues that we had as a football team were well documented,” he said. “The changes that were taken place, the injuries we were overcoming, particularly the players that we need at their best not being at their best was well documented.
“Of course I’m not absolved of anything as the head football coach. I’m not saying that. But I don’t know what happened. I’m not the right guy to ask. You have to ask Paul Allen that.”
Mora went on to talk about all of the players who missed time during the 2009 season, including Walter Jones and Mike Wahle not playing a snap and guys like Sean Locklear, Chris Spencer, Rob Sims Lofa Tatupu, Matt Hasselbeck, Leroy Hill, Marcus Trufant and Nate Burleson all missing time during the season.
And he said despite appearances that maybe he had lost control of the team and backing of the players in the locker room, that was not the case.
“I had them where I wanted them,” Mora said. “And they were buying in. I know from their comments, and if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be getting these texts and emails.”
Asked about how he felt about the fact that the Seahawks asked him to do the press conference on Wednesday knowing that he might not be the head coach of the team moving forward, Mora had this to say:
“From the response I got from people around the country it didn’t sit well with them either,” Mora said. “I’ll go back to what I just said. If you conduct your life in an honest way and if you have morals and integrity, you’re going to be fine. And if you are sneaky and suspicious and self serving, it will get you eventually. It might not be immediately, but at the end we all pay.”
Mora was asked by Millen if he believed the Seahawks would have let him go had Carroll not been available.
“I don’t know that,” he said. “I think what you need to do is get Paul Allen, or Bert Kolde, or Lance Lopes or Tod Leiweke, those guys that were involved in the decision on the air and ask them that.”
As far as his future, Mora said he plans to enjoy time with his family and look at all of his options. Mora said he will continue to do work both in the Seattle area and in Atlanta through his foundation, Count on Me Family Foundation, which focuses on helping children in need.
“I didn’t want to be thinking in those terms, but that’s sometimes the way life goes, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Mora said he doesn’t know if or when he will coach in the NFL again. Another option for him could be working in the media.
And he said the hardest thing about being ago is how bad he wanted to succeed in Seattle.
“I think what makes it tougher for me is to feel like I didn’t get the opportunity to complete the task I was hired to complete, knowing full well that I would have completed it,” Mora said. “I’ve never failed in my life, and I wouldn’t have failed here.
“So that’s what makes it difficult, especially here in my hometown where I have so many ties. Like I said, it was so important to me to represent this community with class and integrity and build a winning football team.”
Mora went on to say he got a note from a woman that lived nearby that compared his situation to opening up an oven door and looking at a pie before the pie is finished baking.