Former Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren appeared on his weekly spot on KJR-AM this afternoon, amid reports that the Cleveland Browns had offered him the job as head of the team’s football operations and the Seahawks front office had reportedly told him they are not interested.
Here are a few of the comments from Holmgren, who joined KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler and Hugh Millen on the radio from a studio near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Asked about the situation with Seattle’s open general manager position, Holmgren said he has not been contacted by anyone from the Seahawks organization that he is out of the running for the Seahawks job. But he did say there’s a timing issue because of what is happening in Cleveland.
“There is a little bit of a time crunch here involved with Cleveland and some other people as were getting down to the last two weeks of the season,” Holmgren said. “Maybe I was hoping for a few more positive signs (from Seattle).”
Asked if believes that he’s been campaigning for the Seahawks job through his weekly appearances on KJR, Holmgren had this to say.
“I’m a big boy,” he said. “Organizations make decisions and if we’re employees, or coaches or general managers, or whatever, you’ve got to live with them, because a lot of the decisions are out of your hands. I don’t regret saying that I would love to be with the Seahawks.”
Holmgren said contrary to some published reports, he has not talked financial contract details with Cleveland.
“No money was talked about, it wasn’t like that,” Holmgren said. He went on to say that his meeting with Cleveland head coach Randy Lerner was more of a fact-finding trip and a chance for both the Browns ownership to get to know him and Holmgren to get to know the organization.
So does Cleveland want Holmgren?
“I had a pretty good feeling when I left,” Holmgren said. “As I said, I had a lot of dealings with the owner. It was very refreshing. He’s an honest man and a good guy — I just liked everything I heard. And so I think I’d have a real good chance, yes.”
Holmgren said the structure of the Browns’ gig, if he were to take the job, is still to be determined.
“It would be any and all I would say,” he said. “It’s a pretty wonderful opportunity for anybody. Exactly how the setup will be regarding me, that’s something that I’m still thinking about. And it’s my obligation then to let the Browns know what I’m thinking that way.”
Holmgren said he wanted time to think about the Cleveland job offer and talk about it with his family, and that’s where he’s at now. He didn’t give a specific timetable on when he would make a decision, although it’s been reported that he would like to have a decision made by Christmas.
“I would say sooner than later,” he said. “I think in fairness to the Browns and their organization, I think you have to do that, whether it’s me or anybody else.”
Asked if head coach Eric Mangini would stay in Cleveland, Holmgren said if he took the job he would make sure to give everyone a fair opportunity and evaluate them before making a decision, rather to let Mangini or anyone else within the Cleveland organization go.
Asked if he still wants to coach, Holmgren didn’t answer the question specifically, but said the real appeal of the Cleveland job is the chance to build something from the ground up.
“The challenge of rebuilding is kind of in my blood,” he said. “So I might look at jobs or look at situations a little differently than someone else — it’s hard to explain, but that’s kind of how I’m wired. And so I think with Cleveland the biggest attraction for me honestly so far is ownership. I think Randy Lerner really would like his team. …. He wants the team to play well and do well for the city. He likes the area. And he wants to do this for a lot of reasons. And he’s really a genuine guy when you talk to him, and I’ve just been very, very impressed.”