Mora has to consider his family in job selection

Jim Mora and his family gather at a park outside Seattle in 2009 for Cole's soccer practice. Pictured are (from left) Mora's wife, Shannon, sons Ryder and Trey, and daughter Lillia. At the time, Mora was getting ready for his first season as the Seahawks' head coach.
Jim Mora and his family gather at a park outside Seattle in 2009 for Cole's soccer practice. Pictured are (from left) Mora's wife, Shannon, sons Ryder and Trey, and daughter Lillia. At the time, Mora was getting ready for his first season as the Seahawks' head coach.
Posted: January 18, 2011

JIM MORA HAD a lot of very compelling reasons to tell Andy Reid thanks but no thanks if he was offered the Eagles' defensive coordinator's job.

You can start with the fact that he is being paid - and being paid quite handsomely - not to work. The Seahawks, who fired Mora just 1 year into a 4-year contract following the 2009 season, still owe him $8 million.

The Great American Dream is to get fired by a dimwitted employer a year into a 4-year, $16 million contract. You still get the money, but don't have to put in the 16-hour days or put up with columnists and talk-show hosts calling you a village idiot.

But there were five much bigger reasons for Mora to pass on the chance to be the Eagles' next defensive coordinator. They are Shannon, Cole, Ryder, Lillia and Trey. They are the reasons he may be headed to Denver to be the Broncos' next defensive coordinator as the Denver Post is reporting, rather than on his way to Philadelphia to work for Reid. Shannon is Mora's wife. Cole, Ryder, Lillia and Trey are his three sons and daughter. Cole is 16, Lillia is 14, Ryder is 12 and Trey is 8.

The Moras live in Seattle. Have lived there for 4 years now. It's home. It's where Jim went to high school when his father was an assistant at the University of Washington for Don James. It's where he went to college and played ball.

Coaches are gypsies. They move around more than military people. That means their families usually move around with them, all for the pleasure of living and going to school in a strange place they often don't want to be in, while their absentee husband/dad puts in those 16-hour days that keep him away from their soccer games and band concerts and school plays and everything else important in their lives.

Being a coach's kid himself, Jim knows what that's like.

A couple of months ago, I called Jim to talk about Michael Vick, who he coached in Atlanta. Mora called me back as he was waiting to pick up Trey from school and take him to soccer practice.

He didn't sound like a guy who wanted to be someplace else at the time. He sounded like a guy who was right where he wanted to be, enjoying the unexpected opportunity to spend time with his family and watch his kids grow, which is something you and I take for granted, but something coaches rarely get the chance to do.

Getting fired by the Seahawks also gave him the opportunity to dip his feet into the broadcasting waters. He's been working as an analyst for NFL Network and he's done some games for Fox, and frankly, he is very, very good. He's certainly got a future in the business if he wants one. The pay may not be quite as good as that of an NFL head coach or defensive coordinator, but the hours definitely are a helluva lot better.

But broadcasting the game doesn't give you the competitive rush you get from coaching it, and that ultimately is why Mora is getting back in. He is a coach. It's what he does. It's who he is.

He could've sat out another year, even two. But in the NFL, you can't say no too many times or people will quickly forget about you. If Mora wanted to coach again and he said no to both Reid and the Broncos' new head coach, John Fox, there was no guarantee he would get another chance.

Strictly from a coaching standpoint, the Eagles would've been a better situation for Mora than the Broncos. A better organization. A better team. Reid isn't going to coach forever. At some point down the road, he may decide take a break or move into the front office full-time. The 49-year-old Mora would have been an ideal replacement option if he had come here. I'm sure that dawned on him.

But this decision was more about his family than it was about what was best for him and his coaching future.

Mora has four kids to think about, some of whom are at that age where relocating to a strange city on the other side of the country isn't at the top of their wish list. From that standpoint, Denver, which is a lot closer to Seattle than Philadelphia, was a more appealing alternative for him.

Consider this quote from Mora in a Seattle Times story by Danny O'Neil in 2009, just before his one and only season as the Seahawks' head coach: "My kids felt like they were moving home when they moved back to Seattle [in '07]. Even though they had never lived here a day in their life, they felt like they were coming home.''

When Mora moved his family to Seattle and when it became clear how much his children loved it there, Jim made them a promise. He told them they would never, ever have to leave the area unless they chose to.

"It's really settling,'' he said in the '09 Times article. "When we moved here, to be able to tell my kids, 'You're home.' ''

Denver isn't home, but it's a lot closer to home than Philadelphia.

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