Mike Holmgren says he should have coached Browns

Mike Holmgren BrownsMike Holmgren will go down as one of the better coaches in recent NFL history, but his tenure as an executive with the Cleveland Browns was pretty poor. Apparently Holmgren has some regrets about how it all went down in Cleveland.

According to a quote Peter King shared in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Holmgren says he wished he coached the Browns instead of sticking to an executive role.

“I really just should have coached the team, but [owner Randy Lerner] didn’t want me to,” Holmgren is quoted as saying.

Holmgren was president of the Browns from 2010-2012. The team went 5-11 twice and 4-12 once. Holmgren fired Eric Mangini after a 5-11 season in 2010 and made Pat Shurmur the next head coach. Shurmur only lasted two seasons as well.

The Browns have not won more than five games in a season since 2007, which is pretty darn terrible. They’ve only had three winning seasons since 1990.

Considering Holmgren was a proven head coach, it probably would have been best to have the top coach in the building actually coaching the team. But the Browns have made many many mistakes with head coaching, GM and draft picks, which is why they’ve been so bad for so many years. They just really need a franchise quarterback. Badly.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk

Mike Holmgren: We offered our entire draft to Colts for Andrew Luck

andrew-luck-coltsFormer Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren wanted Trent Richardson badly enough in the 2012 NFL Draft that he traded three picks just to move up one spot to select the former Alabama star. He would have given up much, much more for Andrew Luck.

During an interview with Dave “Softy” Mahler on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Thursday, Holmgren spoke about a conversation he had with Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson at the owners meetings last year. Holmgren said the two were sitting by the pool — cocktails in hand — when he told Grigson he was willing to trade his entire draft for the No. 1 overall pick.

“I talked to (Grigson) before we made the trade and said I’ll give you all of our draft picks for the No. 1 pick and I’ll take Luck,” Holgrem said. “I’ll give the whole draft to you.”

Did Holmgren think he would be taken seriously? It doesn’t sound like it.

[Related: Mike Holmgren rips Browns for Trent Richardson trade]

“We were at the pool and he was having one of those little drinks with an umbrella in it, so I thought I could take advantage of him,” Holmgren joked. “I said, ‘Brian, let’s just do the deal. Right here, right now.’ I probably offered it knowing he wouldn’t take it.”

Holmgren added that Grigson didn’t bother taking the offer to Irsay because the team had already made up its mind about drafting Luck, which he says was clearly the right choice. Now, only a year later, the Colts have both Luck and Richardson. And all they had to trade was what will likely become a mid- to late-first round pick in the 2014 draft. On paper, life is good in Indy.

Mike Holmgren rips Trent Richardson trade

Mike Holmgren BrownsMike Holmgren ripped the new Cleveland Browns’ leadership for trading Trent Richardson, saying he would quit in protest if he were the coach of the team.

Holmgren discussed the trade while speaking with Dave “Softy” Mahler on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Thursday. Holmgren says his daughter told him about the trade and he didn’t believe it until he looked it up on his computer.

Holmgren was president of the Browns when they traded three picks to move up a spot in the draft last year to select Richardson.

Holmgren praised Richardson, saying the back had “a really fine first year, a good year.” He said he was “startled” by the trade.

“I was startled by that. I was trying to make sense with it. I struggled with it,” Holmgren told Softy. “Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, I’d say ‘OK, fire me, or I’m going to quit. Or we’re going to both go into the owner and talk about this and then we’ll see who’s still standing.’ ”

Holmgren then wondered how the team improves by trading their best player.

“How do you make your team better by trading your best player?” he rhetorically asked. “He’s their best offensive player. He’s a valuable, valuable guy.”

Holmgren also noted that it was pretty obvious the new Browns’ front office is planning for the future.

[Read more...]

Jim Brown: Mike Holmgren did not respect me

Jim-Brown-does-not-like-Trent-RichardsonThe Cleveland Browns announced earlier this week that legendary running back Jim Brown is returning to the team as a special advisor. During an interview with “NFL Total Access” on Friday, Brown referenced “respect” multiple times as the leading factor in his decision to join the Browns again.

In particular, Brown spoke about how former team president Mike Holmgren was responsible for straining the relationship between the Hall of Famer and the team with which he spent nine seasons.

“You have a man who wanted his team,” Brown explained. “(Mike) Holmgren was a successful president and coach and all those things. When he called a meeting with me, he didn’t fire me. He just decided I was getting paid too much. And he didn’t need me to do anything but maybe a little dancing.

“I didn’t feel that he understood my relationship with Cleveland, and I didn’t think that he really cared. I know he hired a lot of his own people and they made a lot of money. And now he’s gone, so the disconnect was that I was not one of his boys.”

When the Browns held a Ring of Honor ceremony in 2010, Brown was not invited. He admitted that being left out hurt but that he tried to take it in stride and not bash the organization. When he was fired, he said he was surprised that his fate rested in the hands of Holmgren and not the team’s owners, the Lerner family.

“I thought I had the kind of a relationship that would never, ever come to have someone from another city deciding my fate,” Brown explained. “I just thought it would be the Lerners, not the Holmgrens.”

The fact that Holmgren and Brown were not best friends was never a secret, but this is the first time Brown has spoken so candidly about it and pointed the finger so directly. Having the most iconic player in franchise history back with the team will certainly help Cleveland from a PR standpoint. Whether or not it helps the product on the field remains to be seen. Brown may have to start by having a conversation with a certain running back that he has not been all that kind to.

Mike Holmgren thinks Rams-Redskins Robert Griffin III trade was an inside job

Mike Holmgren says his Browns made a strong attempt to acquire the second overall pick in the draft from the Rams, but he believes they lost out to the Redskins because of personal relationships.

Holmgren is the president of the Browns and he told the team’s season ticket holders on a conference call that Cleveland was very aggressive in its pursuit of the No. 2 overall pick — expected to be used on quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“Honestly, when it didn’t happen I think there are reasons that I can’t go into right now, but there is a very close relationship between the people getting the deal done and the people who offered. And I’m not sure anything we offered would have been good enough. We were very, very aggressive and it didn’t work,” Holmgren said, per ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi.

The relationship to which Holmgren may have been referring (per Pro Football Talk) could be Redskins G.M. Bruce Allen and Rams COO Kevin Demoff, who reportedly were colleagues and close friends with the Buccaneers

It had been reported since February that the Browns were pursuing a trade with the Rams. They had the Nos. 4 and 22 overall picks to offer, in addition to future draft picks. St. Louis accepted Washington’s package, which consisted of the No. 6 pick, a second-round pick, and two future first-round picks.

It’s impossible to evaluate the validity of Holmgren’s claim without knowing what the Browns were offering the Rams. Washington gave up a load to get Griffin, so this was far from a sweetheart deal. Maybe Holmgren was upset the Rams did not give the Browns a chance to match or beat Washington’s offer. Who knows? I just think the Redskins gave up enough to say there couldn’t have been too much favoritism going on.

Things must be uncomfortable for Colt McCoy after hearing the team’s president wanted to replace him. I guess the only way for the Browns to stick it to St. Louis now would be to draft a player at No. 4 that the Rams want at No. 6 — that would be true payback.