Shutdown Corner - NFL

Upon first glance, the big story on the Yahoo! Sports front page Tuesday night about USC basketball coach Tim Floyd giving money to a handler of O.J. Mayo might not seem like it has much relevance to the NFL. It could end up having a lot.

First of all, go read both stories on the subject (one is about the payment, the other is about the NCAA's investigation into USC). Jason Cole and Charles Robinson did a tremendous investigative job uncovering the details of payments, investigations and interviews to help unravel a sordid tale of college recruiting gone amok.

Even though the Mayo story provided the impetus for these stories, Pete Carroll's USC football team plays a major role as well. Alleged payments made to New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush(notes) during his time at USC could play a large role if the university receives any sanctions from the NCAA. If that happens, it may be time to rekindle the speculation that Carroll will make a return to the NFL.

For years, Pete Carroll's name comes up almost every offseason in connection with certain NFL jobs. The former New York Jets coach has stayed in Los Angeles with the Trojans each time, but the belief has been that he'd jump back to the pros if a better opportunity came along. With NCAA investigators looming, that might happen sooner than we think.

Granted, the timing is all wrong for Carroll to bolt USC now. All NFL jobs are filled for 2009, plus Carroll probably wouldn't want to make it seem like he's abandoning a sinking ship. But the coach has flirted with the NFL in the past when there was no good reason to leave his cushy job at USC. Now, he might have a very good reason to leave his cushy job at USC.

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