December 18, 2014

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Browns: Mike Holmgren denies discussing a return to coaching with Cowboys

BEREA — Outgoing Browns president Mike Holmgren is unsure about what his future holds, but made it clear Monday that he isn’t actively seeking another NFL job.

In particular, Holmgren denied a CBS report that claimed he has “serious interest” in coaching the Dallas Cowboys once he leaves Cleveland’s front office at the end of this season.

“I’m telling you, I don’t know where that came from and I don’t know anything about it,” Holmgren said. “I’m just telling you what I’m saying. You got it straight from the horse’s mouth

“That story is everything that I don’t believe in. I wouldn’t do that. And I didn’t do it. That’s why.”

The former Packers and Seahawks coach made those comments during an unscheduled visit to the media room inside the Browns’ training facility.

Holmgren first joked that, “I haven’t booked my tickets to Dallas,” but turned serious when talking about how unfair the speculation was to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

Cleveland (2-7) plays Dallas (4-5) on Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.

“I’ve always been, quite honestly, bothered by the speculation during the season when coaches are trying to work and they’re fighting like crazy for their jobs,” said Holmgren, who is wrapping up his third and final season with the Browns.

“I have tremendous respect for Jason Garrett. (Dallas owner) Jerry Jones and I, I consider him a friend. We worked on the (NFL) committees a long time together. But I just wouldn’t do that, so help me with that please.”

Holmgren said he has not talked to his longtime agent, Bob LaMonte, in roughly a month and spent the past week in Arizona vacationing with his wife, Kathy.

The 64-year-old added that the last time he discussed his post-Browns life with anyone was Oct. 23, when he held his farewell press conference in Berea.

“I haven’t talked to a single soul since then, that’s the first thing,” he said. “The second thing is, I honestly don’t know what the future holds or what I want to do. Honestly. Believe me on that.”

It’s obvious, though, that Holmgren hasn’t closed the door on resuming his coaching career, which ran from 1992-2008 and included a Super Bowl victory with Green Bay. He also lost one Super Bowl with both the Packers and Seahawks in compiling a 161-111 record — and still owns the 12th most wins in NFL history.

“He’s a great coach, and you can just tell sometimes he wants to get involved, saying little stuff to you, little coaching tips,” Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden said. “He’s a great, great dude and I want the best for him whatever he wants to do. I’ve got his back.”

So does Jones, who waxed poetically about Holmgren after being asked about the report.

The outspoken owner told the Cowboys’ radio network that he “wouldn’t comment one way or the other there with Mike,” then promptly referred to him as “a heck of a coach.”

“We are good friends, have a lot of respect for each other, served on the competition committee for eight years,” Jones said. “He’s very familiar with how we operate the Cowboys and does have a high appreciation for our talent that we have on the team right now. All of that is a compliment. Thank you, Mike.”

While Holmgren has previously stated that he misses coaching, he said his only objective at this time is helping new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III and team CEO Joe Banner get acclimated to the organization.

Though Haslam did not offer him a job after purchasing the team, Holmgren said Haslam and Banner have made him feel as comfortable as any lame-duck executive could expect to feel.

“As long as I feel I can contribute a little bit, and am helping some of the players and helping the coaches a little bit, the plan is to be here through the end of the season,” he said. “But if I’m not helping, that could change.”

Holmgren also will continue to travel to all of Cleveland’s road games, including this weekend’s in Arlington, Texas. He said he plans on catching up with old friends there, but will not lobby them for a job.

“I hope to say hello to Jerry and Stephen (Jones, Cowboys vice president) and those guys,” Holmgren said. “I have no idea how any of that other stuff gets started, but I’m telling you the straight scoop on that, OK?”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.

NEXT UP

• WHO: Cleveland vs. Dallas
• WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m.
• WHERE: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas
• TV/RADIO: Channel 19; WMMS 100.7-FM, WTAM 1100-AM