Sunday, January 16, 2005
1983-1989 Seahawks pro personnel assistant
1990-1994 Seahawks pro personnel director
1995-1999 Seahawks executive VP of football operations
2000-2002 Saints general manager
Randy Mueller was a ballboy for the Seattle Seahawks in the late 1970s during the franchise’s first few seasons. He went on to quarterback Linfield College to a national championship in 1982 before joining the Seahawks organization full-time in 1983 as a scout.
In 1990, the Seahawks promoted Mueller to pro personnel director. When Tom Flores was fired after the 1994 season, Mueller was then hired as the team’s vice president of football operations. It would be during his tenure as VP that the Seahawks would undergo a wave of turmoil that they haven’t recovered from fully to this day.
Then-owner Ken Behring tried to move the Seahawks to Los Angeles in 1996. When that move failed, Behring and Seattle billionaire Paul Allen agreed to a deal that would turn over ownership to Allen should the voters of Washington agree to finance a new outdoor football stadium on the ballot in June 1997. The stadium issue passed, and in 2002, Seahawks Stadium (now Qwest Field) opened.
But the turmoil is still hovering around the Seahawks organization. Bob Whitsitt, who had been president and Paul Allen’s right-hand man for years, was fired on Friday. Whitsitt is infamous for his “Trader Bob” image as well as his conduct in the front office. For more on that, you need to read Les Carpenter’s scathing column on Whitsitt in today’s Seattle Times (1/16/05). And if you want my take on Whitsitt, here’s my post from Saturday (1/15/05).
As for the Seahawks’ on-the-field exploits, they were 9-7 in 2004, winning the NFC West before losing in the first round to division rival St. Louis (for the third time). Since Holmgren came to Seattle, the Seahawks are 0-3 in postseason games and have made the postseason just 3 out of 6 years in his tenure.
What is the resume for Randy Mueller as far as player acquisitions go?
Here’s his resume from 1995-1998 as Seahawks VP (I’m not counting 1999 because his role was diminished) and 2000-2002 as New Orleans Saints general manager (he was fired by the Saints in May 2002, but still made moves for the 2002 season up until his firing).
1995 (8-8, missed playoffs)
WR Joey Galloway (drafted 1st round)
TE Christian Fauria (drafted 2nd round)
Galloway spent 5 seasons in Seattle, while Fauria was in town until going to New England in 2003. Fauria won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots in his first season (2003).
1996 (7-9, missed playoffs)
OG Pete Kendall (drafted 1st round)
CB Fred Thomas (d2)
DE Phillip Daniels (d4)
QB Jon Kitna (undrafted free agent)
S Darryl Williams (free agent, signed from Cincinnati)
---Kendall signed with Arizona before the 2001 season. Thomas signed with the Saints in 2001, when Mueller was in New Orleans. Daniels bolted for Chicago in 2000 and is currently in Washington. Kitna became the full-time starter in 1999, when the Seahawks won the AFC West in Holmgren’s first season at the helm. He is now in Cincinnati as a backup to Carson Palmer.
Williams was a Pro Bowler in 1997, the same year when he laid out Raiders tight end Rickey Dudley in the Kingdome. If only I could find a pic of that hit.
1997 (8-8, missed playoffs)
Traded QB Rick Mirer & 4th round pick to Chicago for 1997 1st round pick (11th overall)
CB Shawn Springs (drafted 1st round #3)
OT Walter Jones (drafted 1st round #6)
TE Itula Mili (drafted 6th round)
LB Chad Brown (free agent, signed from Pittsburgh)
1997 1st round pick (11th overall) and multiple picks traded to Atlanta for 1997 1st round pick (3rd overall) --- Shawn Springs
Traded 1st round pick (12th overall) and 3rd round pick to Tampa Bay for 1997 1st round pick (6th overall) --- Walter Jones
---Springs is now in Washington. Jones has been one of the best offensive linemen in football, but will be a free agent this offseason, as will Mili. Brown was signed to a 6-year, $24 million dollar deal by the Seahawks in February 1997 and is still with the team.
1998 (8-8, missed playoffs)
LB Anthony Simmons (drafted 1st round #15)
OT Todd Weiner (drafted 2nd round)
RB Ahman Green (drafted 3rd round)
RB Ricky Watters (free agent, signed from Philadelphia)
P Jeff Feagles (free agent, signed from Arizona)
---Simmons is currently still with the Seahawks. Weiner is in Atlanta, as his Falcons will play in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. Green spent 2 seasons in Seattle before being traded to Green Bay in 2000 for Fred Vinson.
Watters spent his final years in Seattle (1998-2001). Feagles punted for the Seahawks until leaving in 2003 for the New York Giants.
2000 (10-6, won NFC West)
DE Darren Howard (drafted 2nd round)
DT Norman Hand (free agent)
WR Joe Horn (free agent)
QB Jeff Blake (free agent)
CB Fred Thomas (free agent, former Seahawk)
Acquired QB Aaron Brooks from Green Bay for 3rd round pick
Jim Haslett (head coach)
---The Saints did not have a 1st round pick in 2000, due to the Ricky Williams trade the organization had made the year before. Howard has been one of the best defensive ends in football over the past 5 seasons. Hand was a member of the 2003 Seahawks wild-card team. Horn is the Saints’ top receiver. Blake played for the Saints during the 2000 season before getting hurt, forcing the Saints to play Brooks, a relative unknown out of Virginia.
The Saints would finish 10-6 in 2000, winning the NFC West. They also won their first playoff game in franchise history in 2000, defeating St. Louis.
2001 (7-9, missed playoffs)
RB Deuce McAllister (drafted 1st round. 23rd overall)
S Jay Bellamy (free agent)
KR/PR Michael Lewis (free agent)
TE Boo Williams (undrafted free agent)
---Drafting McAllister was Mueller’s boldest move as an NFL executive. Ricky Williams was still on the roster, but Mueller felt that McAllister was the best player available when it was the Saints’ turn to pick in the 2001 1st round.
Bellamy signed with the Saints after spending the first 7 seasons of his career in Seattle. Lewis was signed in 2001. He was a beer truck driver before being signed by the Saints. He is one of the better return men in football. Williams was an undrafted free agent from Arkansas who has proven to be a capable tight end in New Orleans.
2002 (7-9, missed playoffs; Mueller fired May 2002)
Traded RB Ricky Williams to Miami for 2 1st round picks
WR Donte Stallworth (drafted 1st round, 13th overall)
DE Charles Grant (drafted 1st round, 25th overall, pick acquired from Miami)
C LeCharles Bentley (drafted 2nd round)
WR Jerome Pathon (free agent)
OT Victor Riley (free agent)
DT Grady Jackson (free agent)
---Mueller traded Williams to Miami in 2002 for 2 1st round picks, one of those picks used in 2002 to select Charles Grant. He and Darren Howard are one of the better defensive end duos in football. Stallworth has showed promise in New Orleans, but will best be remembered by Seahawks fans as the player who got hit hard by Ken Hamlin in 2003. Bentley is currently a starter on the Saints’ offensive line.
Pathon and Riley are still in New Orleans, while Jackson is now in Green Bay.
---- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Mueller is a very good talent evaluator. He’s well regarded throughout the NFL. When he was fired in New Orleans in May 2002, it was shocking news. It’s amazing to think that in January 2005, he is not working for an NFL team right now. He’s currently at ESPN as a football analyst. I’ve seen the man talk about football on the family of networks and he knows his stuff. One thing’s for sure, the football IQ level is raised in Bristol when Mueller is on the air.
Along with Mueller, I’d also like to see the Seahawks bring Mike Reinfeldt back. His contract was not renewed last spring. Holmgren is a believer in Reinfeldt, as he has been one of the main reasons why the Seahawks’ salary cap situation is under control. Reinfeldt is a good football man, just as Mueller is.
This offseason is going to be one of the more interesting offseasons in memory for the Seahawks, with 16 free agents on the horizon. It is important for the Seahawks to hire a man who knows football. Bob Whitsitt doesn’t know football.
The Seahawks front office could do themselves a lot of good if they can hire Mueller and Reinfeldt. If they do those two things, Seahawks fans will see a front office that could very well be one of the best in the NFL, with Mueller as president, Reinfeldt as senior vice president of football operations, Tod Leiweke as CEO, and Bob Ferguson as general manager. And it doesn’t hurt to have Mike Holmgren on the sidelines either. Nor does it hurt to have one of the world’s richest men as your owner.
If Paul Allen or any Seahawks employee is reading this, then I am suggesting Randy Mueller as the new president of the Seattle Seahawks. He knows this franchise. He is a Northwest native who knows how bad the fans want a championship. 2004 was a bittersweet year for Seahawks fans. While the team won their 3rd division title in their history, it’s not enough. Winning a playoff game, something the Seahawks have not done since 1984, is not enough. It won’t be enough until the Seahawks hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. There is absolutely no reason why they cannot do just that next season.
There have been rumors over the past few seasons that Mueller and Holmgren don't really care for each other. I don't think there is any truth to that. If anything, I think the man that is mutually hated by everyone who has been in the Seahawks organization is Bob Whitsitt. A basketball man telling a Super Bowl champion what to do as far as football matters go? Way to go, Trader Bob.
From the July 9, 2004 edition of the Portland Tribune:
The New Orleans experience didn’t make Mueller bitter, just wiser. Not every job is the right fit —not even, evidently, the GM position with the team he’d dreamed of running his whole career, the Seahawks.
When that job was offered to him before last season began, Mueller turned it down.
Might that have had something to do with the man running the team, the same man who terrorized Blazer fans for so many years, Bob Whitsitt?
"Well, I can’t really get into that," Mueller says, laughing. "But I think you’re onto it."
Hire Randy Mueller, Mr. Allen.
He does know football, which is one of the job requirements.