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Seahawks name Ruskell new president

SEATTLE (Feb. 23, 2005) -- Tim Ruskell, assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, was hired as the Seattle Seahawks' president of football operations, completing a major housecleaning of the team's front office.

Ruskell also will fill the role of general manager.

"I believe one of the keys that doesn't get talked about enough is unifying. People working together where there are no walls, where there are no agendas, where everybody has a common focus on the goal, and that's winning," Ruskell said.

Ruskell's hiring comes almost six weeks after team owner Paul Allen fired former president Bob Whitsitt.

The same day, Seahawks vice president Ted Thompson was hired as the new general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Seattle's college scouting director, Scot McCloughan, also left to become the San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel. On Feb. 22, general manager Bob Ferguson announced his resignation.

"It's great to have one person to lead the football side of the organization," Allen said. "These are very, very important decisions that can affect your franchise for many years to come and you want to make the right decision.

Ruskell's hiring comes the heels of deals that will keep the Seahawks' top three offensive players on the team.

On Feb. 22, Seattle signed quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a six-year contract and designated Pro Bowl running back Shaun Alexander its franchise player. Last week, offensive tackle Walter Jones signed a seven-year deal with the team.

Wearing a Super Bowl ring from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers title two seasons ago, Ruskell said he believes the Seahawks need only some fine tuning to make a Super Bowl run.

"This team is on the verge and ready to go," Ruskell said.

With Whitsitt in charge, there was constant speculation about tension with coach Mike Holmgren. Ruskell said that wouldn't be a problem with him.

"I'm going to do everything I can to bring people together, to have meetings, to have communication and work disagreements out," he said.

Ruskell spent most of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beginning in 1987 and working his way up to director of player personnel in 2001.

He joined the Falcons in 2004, after Rich McKay, his former boss in Tampa, became president and general manager in Atlanta.

Ruskell started his career as a scout in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and joined the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL in 1985.

"If there are 50 great evaluators of talent in the NFL, I believe Tim is in the top five," McKay said in a statement.

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