There was plenty of talk throughout Mike Holmgren’s meeting with the media today, but the above statement is the one that I would use to describe it if I had to choose one quote.
Mike Holmgren will not say that he will “never” coach again, because he just doesn’t want to make a promise he can’t keep. Simultaneously, as I told you here earlier in the season, I just don’t think Holmgren was making ovations toward the sidelines.
“I was hired to be the President of the Cleveland Browns,” said Holmgren.
However, Holmgren refuses to let himself lie and say he will never ever coach again. He did say that he “probably” would never coach again, but he can’t figure out why he would ever limit himself by saying it. When asked about other rumors that would have Holmgren leave Cleveland to be a head coach, he was more definitive, saying “No. I’m not going to do that.”
So put all those stories about San Francisco to rest.
As for Eric Mangini, Holmgren thanked Mangini and his family for all they have done. He then stated that they will be looking for a new head coach immediately. The assistants have not been fired, and will meet with Holmgren next Monday to discuss their futures. Ultimately the results on the field, while improved, were not good enough for Holmgren, who said “I try not to base my decision on one game, but on the body of work. I have high expectations and I am not going to settle.”
That being said, Holmgren was sensitive to fans who might be thinking “Here we go again” on a total rebuild. Holmgren stated clearly that he understands that feeling and understands where it comes from. He then stated that despite the difficult year, he didn’t feel that this season under Eric Mangini was wasted. Holmgren seemed to be saying that the Browns aren’t without a foundation even as they look to replace another head coach.
“Other than the game yesterday, we were competitive in every ballgame… I don’t think you could have said that a year ago… I think my expectations for the team and for the year were higher. I’ve already told you what I think of the guy. This is a great game, but a tough business.”
So the search will start. It will be operated by Holmgren and Heckert as point men. They take no short amount of responsibility in this process. When asked how important this move is in the scheme of the Cleveland Browns’ history, Holmgren was blunt.
“It’s huge,” Holmgren stated. ”I don’t want to do this again. I think historically when you look at teams that don’t have to (find coaches) this much, they’ve been successful.”
Terry Pluto asked Holmgren how he would sell the Browns, and Holmgren seemed to want to teach Clevelanders something about our inferiority complex.
“You guys have been here a long time,” Holmgren said. ”You’ve lived through the really tough things. You have a tendency to view things differently than I do. This is one of the great jobs in the country. If you are a football coach, that’s what you want to be.”
Holmgren indicated that he would use the same techniques to bring people to Berea that he used to bring Tom Heckert, for example.
So, that’s it. We don’t know who the next coach of the Browns will be. I am reasonably confident that Mike Holmgren will not be the coach unless it is some sort of last resort. The Browns will reportedly cast a wide net and not limit themselves in any way in finding the next football coach for the Cleveland Browns. And hopefully Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and the Browns come up with the right “young guy” who can run with the ball for the long haul.