BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Mike Holmgren considers the opportunity to run the Cleveland Browns "very, very appealing" and plans to give the team his decision "sooner than later."
Holmgren, who spent two days meeting with owner Randy Lerner earlier this week, said during his weekly radio show Friday on Seattle’s KJR that he liked everything he learned about the Browns during his visit to Cleveland.
The former Seahawks and Green Bay coach sounded as if he’s leaning toward accepting the Browns’ offer, calling the chance to head the struggling franchise’s football operations "about as good a job situation as you can ask for in this business."
Holmgren did not rule out a return to coaching. When asked if a potential job in Cleveland would encompass team president, general manager or coaching, he said, "it would be any and all, I would say."
"It’s a pretty wonderful opportunity for anybody," the 61-year-old Super Bowl-winning coach said. "Exactly how the setup will be regarding me, that’s something I’m still thinking about. It’s my obligation to let the Browns know what I’m thinking that way. There is a bit of a timetable we’re working on right now."
Holmgren gave no indication when he’ll give the Browns his decision, and said he is not using the team to get a job elsewhere.
"I ‘m not trying to leverage anybody or do anything like that," he said.
Holmgren wants to talk to the Seahawks about returning to the team he coached for 10 years. But to this point, Seattle is not showing the same interest. He said he has not been contacted by anyone from the organization since GM Tim Ruskell resigned Dec. 3.
He said he has been approached by at least one other team, but it wasn’t the Seahawks. Seattle has yet to begin its formal search to replace Ruskell. The club has not told Holmgren he is not in their plans, and he indicated they may be running out of time.
"I’m very sure that the organization wants to go through a thorough process. That’s been made pretty clear," he said. "But there is a little bit of a time crunch here with Cleveland and with some other folks."
Holmgren has been criticized for campaigning to return to the Seahawks, a charge he finds amusing.
"When you say campaign it denotes I made posters, had people walking around," he said. "Look, I don’t think it’s a big secret that I would like to be considered for a position with the Seahawks. I devoted 10 years of my life to try to make the team good. My family is in Seattle and Seattle is my home. There would be something special (in coming back), but I’m a big boy. Organizations make decisions. You’ve got to live with them."
Holmgren toured Cleveland looking at houses during his "fact-finding" visit. He said he spent the past two days at his home in Arizona weighing the Browns’ offer. Holmgren said the sides did not discuss money, which could be the last step in him finalizing a deal.
"This was getting to know me a little bit better and them getting to know me a little bit better," he said.
Holmgren was vague about his desire to coach again. Also, he would not speculate on Browns coach Eric Mangini’s future. As a former coach, Holmgren said he understands the difficulty in turning a team around in one year. The Browns are just 2-11 in a turbulent first season under Mangini.
"It would really be unfair for me to talk too much about that, other than the fact I like Eric Mangini," he said. "He’s a good coach. He’s a bright guy. He works very, very hard in his job. Anytime you go in and are responsible for who that person is, in fairness to everybody, you’d better give everyone a chance.
"This is his first year in Cleveland. There has been a situation, Bill Parcells in Miami made a coaching change (firing Cam Cameron) after one year, but having been a coach for so many years, I would be the first one to tell you that’s not very fair. But those types of decisions sometimes, the tough decisions, aren’t fair. I would do everything in my power to make sure that’s the right one and everyone gets a chance to prove themselves."
Holmgren acknowledged there is a lot of work to be done with the Browns, but he seems ready for it.
"The challenge of rebuilding is kind of in my blood," he said.
AP Sports Writers Gregg Bell and Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.