Mora new secondary coach with Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks on Sunday reached agreement with former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora to serve as assistant head coach/secondary. Details of Mora's contract were not immediately available.

Fired by the Falcons the day after the 2006 regular season concluded, Mora will replace Teryl Austin on coach Mike Holmgren's staff. Austin departed the Seahawks last week to become the secondary coach in Arizona under first-year head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

"It's a great opportunity, not just because I'll be working with a great head coach and in a great organization, but because it's a chance to return home," said Mora, who has never hidden his fondness for the Pacific Northwest. "I'm really excited about it."

Before being hired by the Falcons as head coach in 2004, Mora worked primarily as a secondary coach and defensive coordinator, so the position in Seattle is a good fit. Mora played collegiately at the University of Washington.

In fact, it was during his interview with a Seattle radio station -- when he said his "dream job" was to coach at Washington, and that he'd leave the Falcons in the middle of the playoffs to take it -- that drew the wrath of owner Arthur Blank.

Mora later said he was only joking during the interview, conducted by former UW teammate Hugh Millen, and publicly apologized.

"I obviously was very disappointed in those comments," Blank
said then. "I spoke to him about it, and he took
responsibility for it. He felt badly about it and he apologized to
the Atlanta. He has a real fondness for the community."

In his three seasons as the Falcons' head coach, Mora compiled a 27-23 record. He led the team to the NFC Championship Game in 2004, his rookie season, but then Atlanta slumped to 8-8 in 2005 and to 7-9 in 2006.

Mora was believed to be one of the finalists for the head coach vacancy in Miami, and Dolphins officials said that he had a strong interview there. But the Dolphins instead hired San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Friday, and once Mora was out of the running for that job, the Seahawks quickly initiated negotiations.

Seahawks team president Tim Ruskell was assistant general manager in Atlanta when Mora was there, and the two have remained close. Mora had two years remaining on his contract with the Falcons, so their financial liability likely will be offset by what he earns with the Seahawks in 2007 and 2008.

Said Holmgren of Mora: "He is a strong teacher and talented coach who will make us better."

Len Pasquarelli is an NFL senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.