April 20, 2014

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Outgoing Browns president Mike Holmgren may not finish season, not ready to retire

BEREA — Outgoing Browns president Mike Holmgren regrets the 10-29 record during his 2½-year tenure but feels he left the organization in better shape and thinks the team is close to winning.

“We didn’t win enough games,” he said. “I’m hoping the table is set for the future.”

Holmgren met with the media for about 40 minutes this afternoon. He will stay to help with the transition to new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, but didn’t commit to finishing the season.

Holmgren, 64, dismissed Haslam’s comment last week that he would retire after the season. He said he may take another job in the NFL and didn’t rule out coaching again.

“I’m leaving it open,” he said. “I did miss the coaching thing.”

Holmgren reiterated he always planned to finish his five-year contract – or stay longer — but the sale of the franchise to Haslam “changed the dynamic and certainly changed the dynamic for me.” Holmgren is no longer needed as the de facto owner for the reclusive Randy Lerner, and Haslam and Banner will assume many of his roles. He said Haslam never discussed him keeping a job with the organization.

“My time was shorter than I hoped,” said Holmgren, who thanked Lerner and congratulated Haslam. “But I understand.”

Holmgren will leave Cleveland with unfulfilled goals. But he believes the team is headed in the right direction, winning will follow shortly and “we have found our quarterback” in rookie Brandon Weeden.

Holmgren brought many people into the organization, most notably general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur. Holmgren said Haslam knows how strongly he feels about them, but the decisions will be up to him.

“I don’t think you can get a better GM than Tom Heckert,” Holmgren said. “And Pat is a bright, new coach who had to go through some stuff.”

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