BEREA – Browns president Mike Holmgren said this afternoon he will take a more public role.
Holmgren announced the philosophy switch during a news conference to wrap up the offseason. Training camp starts at the end of July.
His original plan when he took the job in January 2010 was to stay in the background and let the coach be the public voice. But Holmgren heard objections from fans and media.
“I started to listen to people who said we’d like to hear a little bit more from you,” he said. “I’m going to try to be more available.”
Holmgren has heard the criticism he isn’t committed to Cleveland, but said he likes it here, is involved in the community and desperately wants to turn around the franchise’s fortunes. He will turn 64 Friday and reiterated this is his final job.
“I’m sensitive to that,” he said. “It bothers me. If anything, I probably care too much.”
Does he get the feeling fans distrust him?
“I don’t know. I would hope not,” he said. “If they feel that way, it’s a good reason for me to be out there more.”
Holmgren touched on a number of other subjects:
** He reiterated the Browns aren’t for sale after a rumor last week.
** Holmgren believes in rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, but has to see it under pressure. He said it’s premature to name the starting quarterback.
“We’re not ready to do it now,” Holmgren said. “He has the skill level to excel. He has great upside.”
** Holmgren said the plan “right now” is for Weeden, Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace to be on the roster when training camp opens. But “don’t be surprised” by anything.
** Holmgren said he’s seen an increase in the team’s talent level during offseason practice and has told the coaches he expects a “big jump” this season. He wouldn’t predict a win-loss record.
** Holmgren was asked about the franchise’s strained relationship with Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. Holmgren reduced Brown’s role as an adviser to owner Randy Lerner, and Brown cut ties with the franchise and has been openly critical.
“How the Browns view Jim Brown won’t change,” Holmgren said. “We’d love Jim Browns to be a part of it. I’d welcome him with open arms.”
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