Magic Mike Holmgren came and went. After spending about a day and a half in the city of Cleveland to meet with Randy Lerner as well as a few select members of the coaching staff, he has reportedly returned back to his home in Seattle without a contract. But did he?
The big news yesterday was the fact that Holmgren was even in town. We are hearing that the checkbook of Randy Lerner was opened right out of the gate, ranging from paying for Holmgren’s travel to and from Cleveland all the way down to the meals that were consumed. And given that Holmgren’s agent Bob LaMonte was reportedly present at the meetings, thinking is that dollar amounts were at least mentioned a few times in attempt to get the former GM/head coach to call Cleveland home.
The fact that Holmgren left without a deal may be a cause for concern. As mentioned yesterday, getting him to come out to Cleveland was a giant step in the right direction for Lerner. There is apparently legitimate interest on Holmgren’s end given that he was willing to spend the day in Berea to interview coaches. But also a cause for concern is the amount of leverage that Holmgren has – and that amount is “all of it.”
Given the state of the Cleveland Football Browns, all Randy Lerner has on his side is money (with a hint of history) to go with some of the better facilites in the league. If he really wants a certain individual, Lerner will have to allow full control of the football-based deicsions. Reports of Holmgren’s trip to Berea have come across as if he was the one doing the interviewing. How often do potential candidates for a job get to interview their potential boss? The NFL is a different game, folks, and even more so with the 2009 Cleveland Browns.
With that said, is Holmgren’s leverage being forced upon Seattle as well? Is he using Cleveland and Randy Lerner to establish some market value, only to turn around and go elsewhere?
Mike Homgren has gone on record to say that he would like to have his future planned out by Christmas Day, which is roughly nine days away. And as reported by ESPN’s John Clayton, there is little evidence that the Seahawks have even reached out to Holmgren at this point in their process to fill their open front-office position. Perhaps Holmgren is trying to use his leverage on the ‘Hawks as well? If so, it isn’t working just yet.
With that said, even if things did go well between Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren, and the Browns managed to burn the video footage of the Chicago and Green Bay games, there is a chance that Magic Mike could in fact be back. The Plain Dealer was quick to mention that even if the Browns did strike a deal, they would be unable to announce it until the interview process is complete vis a vis the “Rooney Rule.” Lerner (or in this case, likely Mike Keenan) will have to interview a minority candidate prior to making any hiring official.
For what it is worth, Clayton has gone on record to say that he gives the Browns a 70 percent chance of landing Mike Holmgren for all of the reasons laid out above.
As with nearly every other Browns cliffhanger…Stay tuned, folks.
(Update: WKYC’s Jim Donovan has reported that Holmgren has been offered a contract by the Browns in the neighborhood of $8-10 million per year. The OBR counters this report by saying that the rumor is completely untrue, though the two sides remain in discussion.)