Pete Carroll finalized a contract extension yesterday. Yes, I understand that an NFL team could easily buy out Carroll's contract if he ever decides he wants to return to the pros. However, Carroll has never given any indication other than that he is happy at USC and wants to stay as long as he can maintain the level of excellence he has brought to the program. The contract extension confirms that. Carroll will never be hotter as a coach than he is right now; if he's not making the move to the NFL now, when will he?
"It's a logical thing for people to think," he said of his speculated interest in a new Los Angeles pro team. "But those same people also say that the NFL is the end. And it's not. Matt Leinart showed that this year."Another quote I liked from the above linked Bill Plaschke article in today's Los Angeles Times:
"After five years here, I hope we have shown there is a way to have great discipline and intensity and still enjoy every minute of it," Carroll said. "It's hard for people to understand, but that's what we do."
I really like the timing of the announcement for three reasons. It could give a timely extra punch to USC’s recruiting efforts as crunch time approaches. Currently, USC’s recruiting class is high on quality but low on quantity. However, USC seems to be in the running for the majority of the remaining uncommitted top-100 recruits. Second, there are likely to be a number of openings in the NFL after the end of the regular season this weekend. The announcement should preempt speculation about Carroll taking any of those jobs. Finally, finalizing the contract now demonstrates USC’s confidence in the long-term future of the program regardless of the outcome of the Rose Bowl.