Behring Chooses Flores to Run Seahawks

Associated Press

Tom Flores, who coached the Raiders to a pair of Super Bowl championships in the 1980s, was named president and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday.

Flores won out over former sports agent Mike Blatt, who helped put together the sale of the Seahawks to Kenneth Behring last August. Blatt had been running the NFL franchise as its acting chief executive officer since Behring fired Mike McCormack as president and general manager Jan. 30.

Flores hadn't been mentioned for the position until recently. Blatt had told friends that he would be running the franchise as its chief executive officer. Since Behring said on the day he fired McCormack that he wanted "a business man" instead of "a football man," the choice of Blatt apparently seemed logical.

However, Behring went with Flores, a former East Bay neighbor when the Raiders were in Oakland, over Blatt, a business associate.

"I feel very comfortable with Tom Flores," Behring said. "I couldn't be happier. All three of us are devoted to one thing--winning the Super Bowl."

Said Flores: "I'm looking for a new blue and green sweater. I'm going to put away my old silver and black sweaters."

Flores, who retired as Raider coach after his 1987 team went 5-10, reportedly was given a three-year contract worth an estimated $900,000.

Seahawk Coach Chuck Knox said: "Really, my input on this was minimal until Ken Behring asked me what I thought about Tom Flores becoming president and general manager of the team. I told Ken it's a big plus for a coach to have a football man sitting in that position. Tom Flores has walked the sideline before. He knows what it takes to win. I think he's going to do an outstanding job."

Behring, who said before he fired McCormack that he intended to keep him, sidestepped the fact that he had replaced "a football man" with "a football man." Flores acknowledged that he never has negotiated contracts. He said he planned to rely heavily on Chuck Allen, assistant general manager, for help in that area.

Flores said when he left the Raiders he thought he eventually would return to the NFL as a head coach. On Wednesday, he said he thought coaching was behind him.

"I doubt whether I'll ever get back into coaching," he said.

"I'm not going to tell Chuck Knox how to coach his football team. He's done a pretty good job."

The Seahawks have made the playoffs in four of six seasons under Knox. They won the first AFC West title in the team's 13-year history last season.

Blatt's future with the Seahawks is unclear. He apparently learned his fate at a Tuesday meeting with Behring and Flores.

"The decision already had been made," Flores said.

Blatt reportedly told Behring he might ask him to return the $8-million investment Blatt paid in October to purchase 10% of the franchise.

Flores, a former quarterback, coached the Raiders to a 91-56 record in nine seasons. Although Flores officially retired, there was conjecture he was pushed out as coach by owner Al Davis.

Flores coached the Raiders to four AFC West championships and two AFC titles. The 1980 and 1983 Raiders won Super Bowls.

Flores, who has resided in Manhattan Beach, said he couldn't go to work right away at the Seahawks' offices in suburban Seattle because of "previous commitments."

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