Years of ill fortune for the Cleveland Browns will continue unabated until the organization locates a franchise quarterback. Team president Mike Holmgren gets it. The Bernie Kosar-sized void on this roster is what compelled the Browns to pick Brandon Weeden in the first round of the draft just two years after selecting Colt McCoy.
Finding a starting passer is often a messy process. Feelings are hurt. Holmgren, however, delivered a little sunshine Thursday, telling reporters he believes the team has found something special in Brandon Weeden.
"He's as prepared to come in and start as any rookie I've seen in a long time," Holmgren said.
That wasn't all Holmgren shared during a wide-ranging, fluid chat with the media:
- More on Weeden's progress: "He is gifted. There is a maturity level because of his age. He is a different rookie because of that," Holmgren said, but insisted that Weeden needed "to show us" he's ready to start. The team wants the quarterback derby wrapped up sooner than later: "We cannot go close to the first game and still have it going on," Holmgren said.
- Progress must be made: For a team that won four games last season, Holmgren believes the Browns have enough talent to "take a full, healthy jump on the field this year." That must start in the AFC North, where Cleveland went 0-6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in 2011.
- Not for sale: Holmgren swatted down a recent report suggesting the Browns are up for sale. "There's no truth to that," he said.
- On Jim Brown: Holmgren wants to put the recently publicized bad blood with Browns legend Jim Brown to bed. "Jim is one of my childhood heroes. ... Our relationship with Jim Brown hasn't changed and will never change," Holmgren told the room, insisting he'd welcome the legend back into the fold "with open arms." Brown has criticized the management style of owner Randy Lerner, among others.