By Doug Miller
It’s hard to imagine Randy Mueller knew where his football career would take him when he was a ballboy at Seattle Seahawks training camp in Cheney, Wash., in the summer of 1978. What Mueller does know: Where he is now is exciting and new.
Mueller, a veteran of four decades in the NFL, is the new general manager of the new Salt Lake franchise of the new elite-level spring pro-football platform, The Alliance of American Football. When you consider all that preparation in traditional pro football circles, you might find it surprising that Mueller sees The Alliance as a challenge he’s waited his whole career to take on.
“Most of us on the football side have been involved with rebuilding franchises before at the NFL level. This has been extremely challenging in that we are doing it from scratch,” Mueller said. “Hopefully it makes it that much more satisfying when it all comes together. Our hope is to give Salt Lake something they can be proud of.”
He’s already been there, done that when it comes to assembling successful football teams. He made it all the way from ballboy to Seattle’s vice president of football operations, a job he held until 1999. He was the one who selected future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Walter Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 1997 Draft.
Mueller then went on to become GM of Football Operations for the New Orleans Saints in 2000, quickly won the NFC West crown and notched the franchise’s first playoff victory in his first year on the job. Mueller was an NFL analyst on ESPN from 2002-05 before jumping back into the front office of the Miami Dolphins, where he served as GM from 2005-07. Mueller then went to the Chargers in 2008, and he had been an executive with that team, in San Diego and subsequently Los Angeles until The Alliance called.
Mueller jumped at the chance to get involved with the AAF because he believes in the mission and the people involved, from co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol to football guru and co-founder Bill Polian to the former NFL players all putting their knowledge and effort into running The Alliance, including Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen and Justin Tuck.
He’s already been working hard evaluating players and getting them on the roster, and he says it’s not hard to find high-upside players who can develop and dazzle in The Alliance.
Mueller has a veteran head coach at the helm of Salt Lake, Dennis Erickson, and he has a roster full of players he’s excited to see on the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the home of the University of Utah and, come February, home of the Salt Lake Stallions.
Mueller has been in the communities of Seattle, New Orleans, Miami and Southern California. Now he’s ready for Utah.Mueller said, “we hope to bring this same energy to the rest of the Salt Lake area that we have felt internally since Day 1.”