Tim Ruskell resigned as president and general manager of the Seahawks, leaving the door open for Mike Holmgren’s possible return to Seattle.
Ruskell announced his resignation Thursday, weeks before his five-year contract with the team ends. He asked the team whether he was going to be retained so he could begin planning for offseason moves. Owner Paul Allen, the ailing Microsoft Corp. tycoon, and Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke told Ruskell no, so he left.
“Obviously there’s great sadness today, but I will leave here with great memories of this place and the people. It’s been the people for me,” Ruskell said, his voice breaking and holding back tears during a news conference.
The team’s ownership gave Ruskell full authority to shape the franchise soon after he arrived before the 2005 season. Seattle made its only Super Bowl that season.
Since then, he has presided over failed top draft choices, expensive free agent busts and the awkward ouster of popular coach and former GM Holmgren at the end of his contract in January.
Ruskell brought in coach Jim Mora this season, but the 4-7 Seahawks are on their way to a second straight season without a playoff berth. They finished 4-12 last season, their worst record since 1991.
CHARGERS: San Diego likely will be missing some key defensive players when it visits Cleveland on Sunday.
Linebacker Shawne Merriman, end Luis Castillo and safety Eric Weddle aren’t expected to play after missing practice.
Merriman has been bothered by a soft tissue ailment in his foot and hasn’t practiced all week. Castillo hasn’t played or practiced since hurting his ankle in a victory over Denver on Nov. 22. Weddle is expected to miss the next two games with a knee injury.
GIANTS: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw and safety Michael Johnson didn’t practice because of injuries, leaving their availability for Sunday against Dallas uncertain.
Coach Tom Coughlin said it was “encouraging” that Bradshaw sprinted a bit during practice. Bradshaw, who missed the loss at Denver on Thanksgiving with left ankle and foot problems, was no longer wearing a boot.
If Bradshaw can’t play, the Giants would be short-handed at running back. D.J. Ware sustained a concussion against the Broncos and has been ruled out.
CARDINALS: Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he doesn’t expect to decide who will start at quarterback Sunday night against Minnesota until just before the game.
Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart split practice time with the starters again Thursday, and Whisenhunt said he has made no decision.
“You want to make the decision now, but certainly we’ve got to see how everything goes with Kurt,” he said. “Even though he may feel great today, there might be a situation where something could come up.”
Warner suffered a concussion against St. Louis on Nov. 22 and did not play last week at Tennessee.
VIKINGS: Running back Adrian Peterson could lose his driver’s license after police clocked him driving at 109 mph - nearly twice the posted speed limit - on a suburban Minneapolis highway last weekend.
Peterson was pulled over just before 8:30 p.m. Saturday while driving his BMW in a 55-mph zone on Highway 62 - a normally busy stretch of road known as the Crosstown that connects Minneapolis with the southern and western suburbs, Edina police spokeswoman Molly Anderson said.
The stop happened the night before Peterson ran for 85 yards and a touchdown in a 36-10 victory over Chicago. The All-Pro also fumbled twice.