Looking back on his debacle-filled run in Cleveland, former Browns president Mike Holmgren wishes he made one significant tweak.
"I really just should have coached the team, but (former owner Randy Lerner) didn't want me to," Holmgren recently told TheMMQB.com's Peter King.
It's a fascinating sliver of revisionist history from Holmgren, who admitted to battling the coaching bug in Cleveland before ultimately hiring Pat Shurmur to replace the fired Eric Mangini in 2011. Holmgren himself told The Plain Dealer last October he never seriously considered coaching.
"At that particular time, I wasn't ready to do it again," he said. "I thought I'd be shortchanging the organization."
Instead, Holmgren shortchanged Lerner by pocketing $8 million annually to find Cleveland their franchise quarterback, an ill-fated quest that never achieved liftoff. In three-plus seasons with the team, Holmgren overpaid for a warmed-over Jake Delhomme, signed Seneca Wallace, drafted Colt McCoy and burnt a 2012 first-round draft pick on Brandon Weeden.
All the while, Holmgren floated pretty words about all those arms in Cleveland, a strategy that raises questions after what he told King last week: "Now -- and this is very, very important -- once he's with you, you never, ever let anyone believe he's not the right guy, not the quarterback of the future. In the building, obviously, that's a given. But in public, too. Every time you talk about him, he's your guy."
That admission takes on weight when you consider that Holmgren -- on his way out of town, and pointing to Weeden -- promised the franchise had "found its quarterback."
His claim wasn't remotely accurate, but Holmgren's still talking. Forgive the people of Cleveland if they stopped listening long ago.