Mike Holmgren's time in Cleveland is coming to an abrupt end, as he exits after the third year of a five-year contract. That deal, of course, was struck with a previous owner and the sale of the team to Jimmy Haslam "dramatically" altered his role going forward. The team has a 10-29 record under his watch, and during what was likely his final press conference as a member of the Browns, he talked about the unfulfilled goals on the field.
Holmgren stated, "We did not win enough games, but I am hoping the table is set." He said he did not do enough, or fix enough, to improve the product on the field during his three years. But he doesn't think he's leaving the cupboard bare for incoming CEO Joe Banner.
"I believe now, there's going to be good times ahead...I think we're close. I really do. I think it's going to be okay, but no one has a crystal ball with this."
The team president talked about the cycle of quarterbacks during his three years, from Jake Delhomme to Seneca Wallace, to rookies Colt McCoy and now Brandon Weeden. He went through the process of evaluating each, stating the rationale for adding each guy when he did. He maintained that his "imprint wasn't any heavier" when it came to choosing a quarterback, "I don't think my imprint was any heavier [on the quarterback position]. Everyone of those quarterbacks had a story, and I contributed to a selection."
But he unequivocally stated that he thinks Weeden is the guy for the future, "The organization has found their quarterback."
As for his infamous line "Don't call me for playoff tickets," the "Big Show" made light of the quip that's been repeated throughout the past year. Holmgren thought he might be asked about the slip-up during the presser, and he took it in stride. He explained that he entered that press conference last season angry, after meeting with the league and attorneys about the sideline treatment to Colt McCoy after a concussion he suffered against the Steelers. It violated one of his own rules never to meet with the media while his temperament was less than ideal.
He was much more calm this time around, saying, "It wasn't my proudest moment, I shouldn't have said it." He then transitioned to a nice little line that led to the assembled press erupting in laughter, "May I phone you for tickets when the time comes? May I do that?"
Holmgren's time in Cleveland cannot be characterized as anything other than a failure on the field, but I think a lot of fans would agree that the talent is there and the team seems to be headed in the right direction. Hopefully, the next regime will soon provide that opportunity to phone for playoff tickets.
As for the former Super Bowl winner's next step, it sounds as it he's not ready to retire for good. He said he would take a vacation with his wife, settle down for a bit and think about a next step. He indicated that he missed coaching and definitely left the door open for a return to the NFL.