Seahawks technically broke rules with Dungy contact

The Seahawks’ contact with Tony Dungy about their team president vacancy technically violated NFL rules because, according to league sources, the retired coach still has a valid contract with the Colts.

When the Seahawks introduced Pete Carroll as their new head coach on Tuesday, CEO Tod Leiweke spoke with reporters about the team’s interest in Dungy. Leiweke said he called Dungy shortly after Tim Ruskell resigned as president and general manager in December and that the former Colts coach considered the offer to become the Seahawks’ team president for one day before declining.

“Tony would have made a heck of a president,” Leiweke said. “That was the first call I made.”

However, according to league sources, Dungy’s Colts contract doesn’t expire until March. The Seahawks were unaware of that, according to a source, and thus figured they could contact Dungy directly. The team approached Dungy in December and also as recently as last weekend, when they were putting the Carroll deal together.

If the Colts had any inclination to pursue a tampering claim against the Seahawks, they would seem to have a case, but league sources said they have no interest in that. Many around the league, in fact, were unaware of Dungy’s contract status.

Had the Seahawks known to ask for permission, it almost certainly would have been granted, and Dungy likely will be approached by other teams for management and/or coaching positions in the future, given his sterling reputation.

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