Ruskell to oversee all football areas

ATLANTA -- Longtime personnel chief Tim Ruskell, who served the past year as the Atlanta Falcons assistant general manager, will be the new team president of the Seattle Seahawks, ESPN.com has confirmed.

The official announcement of Ruskell's hiring, after an exhaustive search, came Wednesday. Ruskell agreed to what is believed to be a five-year contract, league sources said, and will oversee all areas of the Seattle football program.

Seattle has been without a top management official since owner Paul Allen dismissed team president Bob Whitsitt last month. The Seahawks also lost vice president of football operations Ted Thompson and college scouting director Scot McCloughan in recent weeks. Thompson was hired by the Green Bay Packers as general manager. McCloughan moved to San Francisco as the 49ers' personnel director.

Current general manager Bob Ferguson annouced his resignation on Tuesday.

"As the Seahawks transition to new football leadership I have decided it is also the right time for me to leave the organization," Ferguson said. "I have agreed to consult with the Seahawks through the draft and will support Will Lewis and his team in ensuring we finish off this process by finding the Seahawks the best possible players."

So bereft were the Seahawks of top front office personnel that Mike Reinfeldt, the cap expert who departed the franchise a year ago, was recently retained as a consultant to help the club negotiate with its key pending free agents.

Ruskell is a veteran of 20 seasons, most of that time spent with the Tampa Bay Bucs, where he actually began as a ball boy. He was a scout in the CFL before serving as the director of scouting for the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits for two seasons (1985-86), and then joined the Bucs organization in 1987.

In Tampa Bay, he worked his way up the personnel ladder and was promoted to director of player personnel in 2001. In January of 2004, Ruskell followed longtime friend Rich McKay, who had accepted the president/general manager's post with the Falcons, to Atlanta, and was instrumental in the team's success last season.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click hereInsider.