RENTON, Wash. — It was a defensive-centric head coach that brought the Seattle Seahawks their only Super Bowl title.

The Seahawks are hoping a newer – albeit younger – version can return them to the elite of the NFL.

The Seahawks are hiring Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as their new head coach, a person informed of the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Seahawks haven’t announced the hiring.

Macdonald, 36, will arrive in Seattle as the youngest head coach in the league and half the age of the man he’s replacing – Pete Carroll, who was let go after 14 seasons in charge during the most successful run in franchise history.

Macdonald spent the past two years running Baltimore’s defense, including this past season when the Ravens finished with the NFL’s best regular-season record and reached the AFC championship game before losing to Kansas City.

This will be the first head coaching position at any level for Macdonald. But he’s been surrounded by successful coaches as he moved up the ranks, starting with an extended run on the staff of John Harbaugh in Baltimore before spending a season on Jim Harbaugh’s staff in college at Michigan. Harbaugh is now coach of the Chargers.

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Seattle made it clear that Macdonald was one of its top candidates when it didn’t move forward on a hire prior to the conference championship games. Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn seemed a clear front-runner because of his past connections to Seattle. But the longer the Seahawks went without moving ahead with Quinn, the more it became obvious there were other options being considered.

Macdonald and Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson were the last two interviewed by the Seahawks before the final decision was made.

PATRIOTS: New England has an agreement in place with Los Angeles Rams assistant Jeremy Springer to become its special teams coordinator, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

Springer, 34, is coming off his second season with the Rams, for whom he served as a special teams assistant. Before that he spent eight years coaching in college, making stops at UTEP, Texas A&M, Arizona and Marshall. He served as special teams coordinator for the Aggies, Wildcats and Thundering Herd.

Springer will now be tasked with improving a Patriots special teams unit that ranked 28th in the NFL this season in defense-adjusted value over average, or DVOA, an advanced metrics used to measure efficiency. The Patriots’ special teams ranked last by that statistic in 2022. New England also will likely be rebuilding its special teams without longtime captain Matt Slater, who is expected to retire this offseason.

Jerod Mayo, the new Patriots coach, is still conducting interviews for offensive coordinator following the departure of Bill O’Brien to take the same role at Ohio State. Defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, who has served as an assistant in New England since 2017, is expected to be promoted to defensive coordinator.

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PACKERS: Jeff Hafley is leaving his job as Boston College’s head coach to become Green Bay’s defensive coordinator.

The Packers announced Wednesday night that Hafley will take over for Joe Barry, who was fired last week after three seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator. Hafley went 22-26 at Boston College in four seasons, including a 7-6 mark this past season with a Fenway Bowl victory over SMU.

COWBOYS: For the record, owner Jerry Jones likes Bill Belichick and could see himself working with him, but he did not talk to the six-time Super Bowl champion coach, who parted ways with the New England Patriots, or any other coach, before he decided to continue on for another season with Mike McCarthy as coach of the Cowboys.

“I didn’t talk to anybody,” Jones said. “And I haven’t talked to anybody that is a head-coaching candidate other than my own.”

But Jones didn’t deny Belichick being an apple-in-his-eye when asked about him by Yahoo Sports.

“I know him personally and I like him,” Jones said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we could work together. None. None. We all know that he’s certainly excellent, maybe at the top of his profession. To say that any one person automatically assures you a Super Bowl is ridiculous. That’s too high (an) expectation for him. But is he maybe the greatest pro football coach of all time? Could very well be.

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“He is a friend and I like him and I want to make real clear: I wouldn’t have any problem working with him.”

Jones also wants it clear that he never gave any thought to moving on from McCarthy after a third straight 12-5 season ended with a third straight early playoff exit in a 48-32 wild-card setback to the Green Bay Packers that he has called the most painful playoff loss of his career as Cowboys owner.

FANS HAVE been wondering for days whether Taylor Swift will make it to the Super Bowl next week to cheer on boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs and, if so, how many times she’ll show up on TV during the game. They can speculate all they want, but they won’t be able to bet on it legally in the United States.

Those types of wagers can be made offshore with sportsbooks such as BetUS, which is based in Costa Rica, and potentially in the Canadian province of Ontario. BetMGM public relations manager John Ewing said he was waiting for word from Canadian authorities if such bets will be OK.

But in the U.S., where betting laws vary from state to state, the general rule is wagering is limited to what happens on the field. A handful of states allow bets to be placed on the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach – red or pink is this year’s plus-260 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook – but even that type of wager is not allowed in Las Vegas.

PANTHERS: Carolina added to its front office, hiring former Kansas City Chiefs contract negotiator Brandt Tilis as the new executive vice president of football operations.

Per the team, Tilis will handle all football administration and non-coaching matters related to operations, equipment, video and analytics, and will lead player contract negotiations, compliance with the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement and league rules, salary cap management, and maintenance and labor administration.


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