No deal, but Browns and Holmgren to talk again
BEREA, Ohio (AP) – As Browns players dressed for practice on Thursday, defensive lineman Corey Williams began chanting, “We want Holmgren! We want Holmgren!”
Their wait continues.
Mike Holmgren left Cleveland on Wednesday without a contract to take over as the Browns’ director of football operations. Team spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said money has not been discussed, despite reports that Holmgren could command upwards of $10 million a year, but that the two sides agreed to talk again in the coming days.
He would not offer specifics of the conversation, or whether the Browns have brought in other candidates.
Before Holmgren can be hired, the Browns would have to interview a minority candidate to comply with the NFL’s “Rooney Rule.”
“We’re aware of the rule,” Bonsiewicz said. “So much so that we contacted the league office to make sure we’re clear on it.”
Browns coach Eric Mangini wants his 2-11 team to focus on Kansas City, Sunday’s opponent, but all the buzz about Holmgren has clearly infiltrated the locker room.
“Have they hired a czar yet?” one player asked a group of reporters, poking fun at the title that has been assigned to owner Randy Lerner’s search for a “serious, credible leader” to overhaul the Browns again.
A few minutes later, Williams began shouting his unsolicited campaign.
Williams has been vocal about his lack of playing time this season, although injuries have made him one of the most productive players on defense in recent weeks. He had two sacks in the Browns’ most recent game, a stunning upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Williams came to Cleveland from Green Bay, but Holmgren was long gone by the time Williams landed in Wisconsin. Still, Williams heard all the stories about the man who has coached in three Super Bowls and appears to be Cleveland’s clear No. 1 target.
“I heard a lot of great things about him,” Williams said on Wednesday. “It’s a great thing he came in and I hope he gets the job.”
The list of available landing spots for the 61-year-old Holmgren was trimmed Thursday when Washington hired Bruce Allen as the team’s general manager an hour after Vinny Cerrato resigned as vice president of football operations.
Holmgren is considered a candidate in Seattle, where he is still popular after coaching the Seahawks to a Super Bowl three years ago. Holmgren has previously served as the team’s GM and could be a contender to reclaim the role after the resignation of Tim Ruskell earlier this month.
Last week, he told a Seattle radio station he “absolutely” wanted to talk to the Seahawks about a possible return as Ruskell’s replacement.
A Seahawks spokesman said Thursday that the Seahawks are is still in an “initial auditing” stage of assessing the slumping franchise and has yet to talk to any GM candidates.