The coaching itch never completely left Mike Holmgren, who will walk away from a stint as a Cleveland Browns executive feeling mostly dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
BEREA, Ohio — The coaching itch never completely left Mike Holmgren, who will walk away from the Cleveland Browns feeling mostly dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
His three years as a Browns executive didn’t go as hoped. And for one of the few times in his football life, former Seahawks coach Holmgren came up short as a leader.
This loss was tough to swallow.
“We did not win enough games,” Holmgren said of the Browns at his farewell news conference Tuesday. “I’m hoping the table is set for the future.”
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Holmgren won’t be part of it.
After being hired by Randy Lerner in December 2009 to fix a dysfunctional franchise, Holmgren won’t complete his five-year contract as team president of the Browns, who belong to new owner Jimmy Haslam.
Holmgren would not commit to staying for the remainder of this season in Cleveland, where his tenure with the organization will be remembered for more losing and more change.
Since Holmgren arrived, the Browns are 10-29, a record that pains the 64-year-old former coach who twice went to the Super Bowl with Green Bay and once with the Seahawks. He came to Cleveland with the best intentions, and while he succeeded in rebuilding the front office, repairing broken business relationships and helping add roster talent, Holmgren failed to deliver a winner.
“The record speaks for itself, and ultimately people are judged on how many games you win,” he said. “But there’s a lot more that goes into an organization than that. Although that’s the thing people look at, there’s some things I feel very, very good about what we did here. We didn’t win enough games, though.”
Holmgren made it clear he is not ready to stop working. He was asked if he had one more coaching stint left in him.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I know this: I learned a lot of things in the last three years. One of the things that I thought I knew and now I’m sure, I do miss the coaching part of it. I really do.”
Holmgren said he did not discuss a new “credible” position with Haslam, whose $1.05 billion purchase of the Browns was approved by the league’s owners last week. Holmgren would like to stay on and assist Haslam as well as incoming CEO Joe Banner, the former Eagles president who will take over Thursday, in the transition.
But Holmgren isn’t sure that will be possible.
“I’ve talked to Jimmy a lot about this,” he said. “He has my assurance. I’m not gonna rock the boat. I’m not gonna get in anybody’s way that way. I still have my office. I’ve got my lunch ticket and my parking space. I think I can help a little bit, but if it gets cumbersome or uncomfortable for anybody, then, heck, I don’t want that to happen.”
• Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, who leads the team in tackles with 77, is facing surgery on his right big toe and is done for the season.
According to several reports, Lee has ligament damage in his toe.
• Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh appears to be in the clear on his big hit on Chicago’s Jay Cutler, and the Bears’ quarterback said that is how it should be.
Suh sacked Cutler violently to the ground late in the first half of Monday’s 13-7 Bears victory, injuring Cutler’s ribs and reviving talk Suh is a dirty player.
A league spokesman said the play was legal, and Cutler said on his weekly radio show the play was “clean.”
“It was a tough hit and he caught me just right,” Cutler said on his show. “It was an awkward fall more than anything. I knew it was my ribs and it wasn’t my shoulder or head or anything like that. His knee and the ball got caught in my ribs. … I knew on my way down it wasn’t going to be good.”
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall took exception to the hit, tweeting to Suh, “What u did to Jay wasn’t cool. Great players don’t have to do that.”