Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Veteran mentor Mike Holmgren admitted that he should have coached the Cleveland Browns during his short time as team president but team owner Randy Lerner was against it.
“I really just should have coached the team, but [Lerner] didn’t want me to,” Holmgren said.
The 65-year-old Holmgren guided his teams to three Super Bowl appearances during his 17-year coaching career with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks but failed to build a winner during his two-plus years in Cleveland.
Holmgren, who was hired by the Browns in December 2009, retained coach Eric Mangini for the 2010 season, when Cleveland went 5-11 for the second straight year.
Holmgren replaced Mangini with Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two years before being fired following the 2012 season.
“At that particular time, I wasn’t ready to do it again,” Holmgren said. “I thought I’d be shortchanging the organization.”
Holmgren compiled a 161-111 career coaching record, guiding his teams to the playoffs 12 times in 17 years.
The Packers won Super Bowl XXXI under Holmgren following the 1996 season and reached the Super Bowl again the following year. Holmgren also coached the Seahawks to the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history following the 2005 season.
However, Holmgren did not find success as an executive with the Browns, a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2002 and has had six consecutive losing seasons.
Cleveland struggled to find a franchise quarterback under Holmgren, who signed aging veteran Jake Delhomme and traded for career backup Seneca Wallace in 2010, used a second-round draft pick on Colt McCoy in 2010 and used a first-round pick on Brandon Weeden in 2012.
Holmgren said that despite his failed attempts to find a quarterback, he publicly maintained his support for the players during his time in Cleveland.