Pete Carroll, who negotiated himself out of the head coaching job in St. Louis, was trying last night not to make the same mistake with New England.
The Patriots apparently want Carroll. Carroll appears to want to coach the Patriots.
Unless he makes the same outlandish demands of Bob Kraft that he did of the Rams, Carroll, 45, should be named as Bill Parcells's successor no later than tomorrow.
Carroll met yesterday with Kraft and Bobby Grier, the Patriots' director of player personnel, and it is believed that the only question remaining is not whether he will be offered a contract, but how that contract will be structured.
Meanwhile, in New York, the Jets have made it clear that Parcells isn't the only coach they'd like to get from New England.
Bill Belichick, who served as assistant head coach under Parcells with the Patriots, has been talking to other New England assistants about joining the Jets.
Whether he was doing that in expectation of being named interim coach or whether he was acting for Parcells was unclear as of last night.
Kraft said Friday that, unless the Jets gave New England the top choice in the upcoming draft, he would not allow Parcells to coach New York next season.
But that may only have been a starting point for negotiations.
Believed to be offered jobs in New York with Belichick and Parcells are running backs coach Maurice Carthon, defensive line coach Romeo Crennel, offensive line coach Fred Hoaglin, strength and conditioning coach Johnny Parker, special teams coach Mike Sweatman, and wide receivers coach Charlie Weis.
Offensive coordinator Ray Perkins is headed for the Oakland Raiders. Defensive coordinator Al Groh would like to stay with New England, but Carroll is believed to have his own choice for coordinator.
Carroll also is rumored to be interested in bringing Jon Gruden, the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-year-old offensive coordinator, to New England, but there are contractual problems with the Eagles.
That appears to leave the status of Patriots quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer up in the air, although it is believed that he, too, could go to the Jets.
There also is talk that Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin is interested in Palmer as an offensive coordinator to replace Kevin Gilbride, who recently was named head coach of the San " Diego Chargers.
Palmer, who worked with Gilbride in Houston, turned down the coordinator's job with the Chargers.
Assembling a staff will be a critical task for Carroll, which is another reason the Patriots are likely to move quickly to conclude a deal with him.
Carroll figures to be much more realistic in his dealings with Kraft than he was with Rams president John Shaw.
Offered the head-coaching job in St. Louis in early January, Carroll was reluctant to accept because he had hopes of succeeding Parcells in New England.
So he made a proposal that included giving him complete control of football operations in St. Louis, 50 Super Bowl tickets a year, and two luxury suites in the new Trans World Dome.
Shaw considered those demands excessive, and Carroll admitted he "came off looking like a jerk."
While Carroll obviously looks like the best available candidate to the Patriots, his record isn't overly impressive.
Named to replace Bruce Coslet as head coach of the Jets in 1994, Carroll was fired after one season.
The Jets went 6-10 that year, losing their last five games.
Carroll, who had been defensive coordinator for four years under Coslet in New York, held that position the past two years in San Francisco under George Seifert.
But, when the 49ers replaced Seifert last month, they brought in offensive wizard Steve Mariucci from the University of California, rather than turn the team over to Carroll.
With the Jets, Carroll was regarded as a "players' coach."
A big basketball fan, he frequently was seen bouncing a ball through the Jets' offices on Long Island.
He would listen to soul singer James Brown on headphones while studying game tapes, and was known to "surf" down the aisle of the Jets' chartered airplane on his plastic-covered play sheet.
That's a far cry from the domineering, dictatorial style of Parcells.
It would be interesting to see how a young team that just won the AFC championship responds.
As a player, Carroll was a two-time, all-conference defensive back at the University of Pacific in 1971-72.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma matter before moving to Arkansas in 1977.
From there, Carroll went to Iowa in '78, to Ohio State in '79, and then to North Carolina State from 1980-82.
He returned to Pacific as assistant head coach in 1983 before entering the NFL with Buffalo in 1984.
Carroll spent the next five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings as defensive backfield coach, joining the Jets in 1990 as defensive coordinator.
In '93, his defense was second in the AFC in yardage allowed and third in points allowed.
That led to his being named to replace Coslet in '94. But he was fired after one season in favor of Rich Kotite.
Pub Date: 2/03/97