Pete Carroll turned down the San Francisco job offer in 2005. He then turned down the Raiders in 2006. But he is a California Bay area guy, and the firing of Mike Nolan has to raise some concerns. Carroll was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended Northern California's University of the Pacific, eventually moving on to later become the 49ers defensive coordinator in '95 & '96. A return to his old stomping grounds may have been doubtful in the past, but would appear more probable today.
2005 offered a golden opportunity for Carroll and the Niners. Many believed he would flee Southern California, jumping on a chance to go home again, and possibly coaxing his Heisman winning QB to go with him. Matt Leinart was the top prospect in the upcoming draft, and the 49ers were holding the first pick. Fresh off an Orange Bowl victory and his second national championship in consecutive years, both Carroll and Leinart remained at USC. San Francisco hired Mike Nolan and drafted Utah quarterback Alex Smith.
With the San Francisco job open again, circumstances have changed. Though the Trojans are the 6 time defending Pac 10 champions, they've appeared in the national title game just once, since Pete turned down the earlier job. With a roster loaded with talent, USC has underachieved in recent years, and the local media points fingers at the man they once proclaimed "The king of Los Angeles". Many questioned whether or not Carroll still had the NFL itch, but if you couple the added pressure to reach the BCS championship game with the possibility of a homecoming, the time may be right to give it a scratch. Carroll refused to comment on the Bay area job opening, but his history shows that he'll at least listen to the offers. No comment is the same as saying you're leaving the door open. If the door is closed, and the 49ers are definitely out, why not say so?