Holmgren will be Browns' president
Serious. Credible. A leader. In Mike Holmgren, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner hit the trifecta he desperately wanted.
Holmgren, who returned Green Bay to prominence and raised Seattle's profile during his NFL career, yesterday accepted an offer to become president of the Cleveland Browns, a franchise needing a major makeover after a decade of losing.
Lerner said he reached a preliminary agreement with Holmgren, a Super Bowl-winning coach who brings immediate credibility to the down-and-out Browns.
"We are pleased to announce that Mike Holmgren has agreed to join the Cleveland Browns," Lerner said in a statement. "We will spend the rest of the week finalizing the details of the agreement and will make a formal announcement next week."
As part of a front-office shakeup, Lerner said current president Mike Keenan will become the club's chief financial officer.
The 61-year-old Holmgren is coming to Cleveland strictly in an executive role. Last week, he indicated his job offer with the Browns could include a return to the sideline.
While embraced by Cleveland fans, Holmgren's arrival could be trouble for coach Eric Mangini, who is just 3-11 in his first season. Holmgren, who will likely bring in a general manager to oversee personnel decisions, may also replace Mangini.
The Browns have lost at least 10 games in six of the past seven seasons and made the AFC playoffs just once since 1999.
On Saturday, Holmgren turned down a front-office position with the Seahawks, whom he coached for 10 seasons, serving four as GM and coach.
CHILDRESS WANTED TO BENCH QB FAVRE
Brett Favre and Brad Childress enjoyed quite the honeymoon in their first three months together in Minnesota.
The coach coaxed the quarterback out of retirement to play for the Vikings, picking the 40-year-old up from the airport and personally chauffeuring him to team headquarters to sign a contract in August.
Favre responded with some of the best football of his life to help the Vikings to a 10-1 start, piling up touchdowns and wins that helped Childress secure a long-term contract extension.
A day after their first public spat, Childress said he was only thinking about Favre's safety against a ferocious Carolina pass rush when he considered pulling him from the game Sunday night with a one-point lead in the third quarter.
"I'm watching, and I said, 'Hey, you know what? I'm thinking about taking you out of the game here," Childress said yesterday. "I mean, you're getting your rear end kicked.' Through not a lot of fault of his own."
After the 26-7 loss to the Panthers, Favre was asked about an animated exchange he had in the third quarter with Childress with the Vikings in front 7-6.
"Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it," Favre said after the game. "We were up 7-6 at the time. No secret, I was getting hit a little bit. I felt the pressure on a lot of plays. We had seven points. ... Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game."
Favre remained in the game and finished 17 of 27 for 224 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Bengals: After wasting another chance to secure the AFC North title, the Cincinnati Bengals had one day to get ready for something that will be even more wrenching.
They fly to Chris Henry's funeral.
The Bengals chartered a flight to New Orleans to attend the receiver's funeral today. Henry died from injuries last Thursday in North Carolina, a day after he fell out of the back of a pickup truck during what police described as a domestic dispute with his fiancee.
Cowboys: Dallas cut placekicker Nick Folk and replaced him with Shaun Suisham, a former Cowboy.
Suisham kicked for Dallas in 2005 and 2006. He was released by Washington on Dec. 8.
Folk, who was 18 of 28 on field-goal attempts, clanged the right upright on an easy 24-yarder that would have put away Saturday's 24-17 win against New Orleans.
Titans: Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck has a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season while outside linebacker David Thornton will have season-ending shoulder surgery later this week.
Bulluck, who was injured Sunday against Miami, had 113 tackles season. Thornton was inactive for the game.
Ravens: Baltimore cornerback Lardarius Webb will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.
Webb tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's 31-7 victory over Chicago.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay rookie receiver Sammie Stroughter will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his right foot Sunday against Seattle.