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Mike Holmgren sends mixed signals on coaching return

Mike Holmgren's rocky tenure with the Cleveland Browns is over and done with.

Holmgren huddled with reporters one final time Monday to reflect on his uneven three-season run as team president. Friday will mark his final day in Cleveland before he catches a flight out of town on Saturday. Where he goes from there is anyone's guess.

"I honestly don't know if I'm going to go back to work right away or not and I don't know if it will be in football," Holmgren said, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

Whispers have linked Holmgren to a potential head-coaching job with the Dallas Cowboys, should Jason Garrett be jettisoned. Those rumors surfaced while Holmgren was still being counted on to help the Browns, further testing the patience of a town that's been slapped around one too many times.

Holmgren couldn't resist Monday, chewing up minutes on the mic as he refused to rule out a return to the sideline.

"I knew it would be a difficult thing watching games," Holmgren said of his role with the Browns. "Just watching and not contributing during the game itself. But maybe I didn't know how hard that would be. But having said that, I made my decision. That's what I wanted to do. That's what I did. I wasn't going to do that here (Cleveland). But now I've learned that what I did is very difficult -- for me to watch. So if ever something comes through down the line ... but I just finished telling you that I don't know."

Holmgren's wandering reflections on the Browns experience paint the portrait of a man out of place, almost at odds with himself. ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi reported Holmgren's career earnings have topped any "non-player, non-owner and non-commissioner" in league history. "The Big Show" hauled in a bundle of greenbacks with the Browns, but Cleveland's only win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers during his tenure came Sunday -- with Holmgren locked in lame-duck status.

New Browns CEO Joe Banner told reporters Monday that Holmgren approached him last week to say he had done all he could after signing a five-year, $40 million deal in December 2009. Browns fans would have paid double for a winner.

Holmgren no longer fits in Cleveland -- he never did -- but he's got plenty to think about as he rolls out of town, leaving the three-win Browns in the rear-view.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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