mikeholmgren.jpg
If you see this man walking around greater Seattle, be warned: He's gone temporarily insane.
Retirement does weird things to some men. But it looks

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Mike Holmgren Is Going Crazy: Says He Wouldn't Mind Coaching Cleveland Browns

mikeholmgren.jpg
If you see this man walking around greater Seattle, be warned: He's gone temporarily insane.
Retirement does weird things to some men. But it looks like not working may be driving Mike Holmgren crazy. How else to explain his apparent willingness to work for the Cleveland Browns, one of the NFL's most dysfunctional franchises?

Since he walked away from his coaching gig with the Seahawks last year, Holmgren has made it abundantly clear that he plans to return to work in 2010. Declaring himself eligible for courting, the rumor mill has presented the Super Bowl winner with a handful of suitors including the 49ers, the Seahawks (for a second go-round), the Redskins and, most recently, the Browns, a team whose interest would cause most football gurus to politely decline then change their phone number but one that apparently has Holmgren excited.

So what's going on here?

Judging by Holgren's comments, the former coach is stoked about the opportunity to pursue a reclamation project. It's one thing to take over a dyanistic franchise like the New England Patriots. There, the only direction to go is down. But the Browns are just the opposite.

Cleveland has only made the playoffs once in the past 15 years. Their owner is a shy, disinterested Anglophile who spends most of his time in London toying around with his soccer team. (Which is more a knock against his NFL-owner credentials rather than his choice in cities, given the current state of the Mistake by the Lake.) And following yesterday's last-second loss to the woeful Detroit Lions, the Browns are now 1-9 and have more games played than touchdowns scored.

It looks like the impulse that drives wealthy men who could afford to buy the brand new Bugati instead barter for the SRO in the scrap heap is the same one driving Holmgren. Sure, Cleveland has some of the most devoted fans in the league. But their franchise is in disrepair. And as Holmgren said, it's "taking on those kinds of projects" (read: fixer-uppers like the Browns) that "kind of gets me going."

Of course, filling dead air and signing a contract are two very different things. It's natural for a guy whose spent his whole life in the NFL to speculate on where he might land next. And Holmgren's interest in the Browns thus far doesn't look like it extends beyond a soundproof booth.

But even a minor flirtation should be cause for concern to his friends and family. Because while retirement hobbies like gardening, whittling or writing the Great American Novel have their own hazards, they're nothing compared to the permanent scarring that can come as a result of working with the Browns, one of the NFL's most dysfunction franchises.

 
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