Mike Holmgren made a lot of mistakes as president of the Cleveland Browns. One of his mistakes, Holmgren now says, is not hiring himself as head coach.
Holmgren told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that in hindsight, he should have pushed back against the team’s ownership, which wanted him to be the top executive but not the coach.
“I really just should have coached the team, but he [owner Randy Lerner] didn’t want me to.”
It’s easy to see why Holmgren feels that way, because he’s been a better coach than an executive throughout his career. Holmgren did his best work as the head coach of the Packers at a time when Ron Wolf was Green Bay’s general manager, and after a brief and unsuccessful stint as both head coach and G.M. of the Seahawks, Holmgren had more success after giving up the G.M. job. In Cleveland, Holmgren oversaw a front office that made many mistakes, including retaining head coach Eric Mangini when it was clearly time to move on, hiring Pat Shurmur after firing Mangini a year too late, and using first-round draft picks on Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.
However, Holmgren has previously said that he was the one who decided not to coach again, so it’s surprising that he’s now saying it was Lerner who kept him from coaching the Browns. We’ll never know how things would have turned out if Holmgren had coached the Browns, but it’s safe to say this: He would have struggled if his roster was put together by General Manager Mike Holmgren.