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‘Unicorn event’ allows Ryan Grubb to stay in Seattle as new offensive coordinator for Seahawks

Seattle is full of firsts with its coaching staff

By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer
Published: February 15, 2024, 3:46pm
3 Photos
Seattle Seahawks NFL football offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb speaks to reporters during an introductory press conference, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Renton.
Seattle Seahawks NFL football offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb speaks to reporters during an introductory press conference, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Renton. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear) Photo Gallery

RENTON — Ryan Grubb said he was all-in on making the move to Alabama and being the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide.

That was until someone Grubb connected with a year ago at the NFL combine reached out to gauge his interest in an opportunity that allowed him the chance to stay put in the Pacific Northwest and fulfill a desire to coach in the NFL.

“This is like the unicorn event in coaching,” Grubb said during his first availability after being named the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator. “So the fact I get to stay right here and do it in a city and in a place that I already love and I’ve had two years to kind of let it marinate as far as what (GM) John Schneider does here, and the ownership with the Seahawks and just how classy an organization this is and how driven they are to success it makes it really special.”

Grubb, along with new defensive coordinator Aden Durde and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh all had their first introductions on Thursday. Seattle will be full of firsts at the NFL level next season – a first-time head coach in Mike Macdonald, along with first-time coordinators in all the key position of the coaching staff.

“You get together and you communicate, and you think about things, and I think Mike is very good at creating a vision,” Durde said. “One thing that I come in here and I really understand what we’re trying to achieve from a defensive aspect, and I think he’s created that vision. So now it’s kind of creating that mission mindset of let’s go get it.”

Grubb was the main attraction because of spending the past two years nearby as the offensive coordinator at Washington. But his relationship with Macdonald went back 12 months, when the pair first met at the combine and grew from there.

“I got to know him throughout a couple of different conversations and just kind of built that relationship over time,” Grubb said. “Kind of knew that potentially there’d be an opportunity like this down the line. Didn’t necessarily think it’d happen in the very first year but that was really the first part.”

One of the big remaining unknowns is how well Grubb’s system that led to 14 wins and a spot in the national championship game at Washington translates to the NFL. The quarterback could play a big role in that.

And for now, the quarterback appears likely to remain Geno Smith. Seattle doesn’t intend on making any moves with Smith ahead of Friday’s deadline when $12.7 million in base salary of his contract for next season becomes guaranteed.

Seattle could still make a trade involving with Smith – especially with another $9 million due next month – but for now one of Grubb’s main priorities is having the initial basic conversations with Smith and last year’s backup Drew Lock.

“That’s all it is, just getting to know him as people,” Grubb said. “So no scheme or anything like that, but he’s a great competitor. He wants to be coached. He wants to be the best. It means a lot to him. Just hearing his story and his growth as a player and a person is inspiring honestly.”

While Grubb first connected with Macdonald and year ago, and Durde had no previously relationship with the head coach, Harbaugh and Macdonald go back to when both were on staff as young coaches with Baltimore about a decade ago.

Harbaugh worked under his dad, Jim, at Michigan since 2015, but rather than follow his father to Los Angeles opted for the chance to work with Macdonald.

“I’m really thankful for that chance that I had,” Harbaugh said. “It was the kind of thing where I would never want to go my own way unless it really made sense in all the ways I talked about earlier with this franchise, the direction I know Mike is going to take it, all the fantastic people in the front office being so proven and excellent at what they do. It just kind of made sense.”

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