Dance between Seahawks and Mike Holmgren is speeding up
Mike Holmgren's trip to Cleveland to talk to the Browns could hurry the Seahawks to the dance floor — or it could inspire resentment that Seattle's decision is being rushed.
Seattle Times NFL reporter
Mike Holmgren began making goo-goo eyes at the Seahawks even before he left in January for his one-year sabbatical.
He's ready to play footsie with his former team, too. That was made clear two weeks ago on Holmgren's radio show on KJR (950 AM) when he said he would most certainly like to talk to the Seahawks about the vacancy atop their football operations.
Too subtle, huh?
Well, Tuesday's news that Holmgren is in Cleveland talking to Browns owner Randy Lerner was more like a kick to the shins then, and it certainly got the attention of anyone in Seattle hoping for Holmgren's return.
It's the latest step in a mating ritual that is becoming as awkward as a junior-high dance. There's Holmgren on one side of the room, trying to catch the Seahawks' eye when the latest slow number comes on. Meanwhile, the franchise is playing it cool, keeping its options open and talking about going through a process to select its next dance partner after Tim Ruskell stepped down as president this month.
Now that Holmgren is talking to Cleveland, the music has started to speed up.
Holmgren is ready to be courted. That is clear. How long he's willing to wait for a franchise that employed him for 10 years to evaluate his candidacy isn't. Visiting the Browns is one way to show he has his own timetable, too.
That ticking sound you hear in the background is a clock, and it's only going to get louder over the next month or so.
It's not a surprise Holmgren has options. He's one of five men ever to coach two teams to a Super Bowl. The Browns and Seahawks are currently the only teams with prominent front-office vacancies, but there will soon be others. The Cowboys are showing signs of another December belly-flop that might result in an overhaul, and Washington appears poised to make changes, too.
The Seahawks are going to have choices as well. They've contracted a New York search firm — Spencer Stuart — to help identify candidates, and the franchise is currently in the midst of an internal audit of everything from the personnel on hand to the front-office decisions made during Ruskell's five-year tenure as president.
Holmgren has made it clear he's open to a return to the Seahawks. He might even be hoping for it. How long is he willing to wait? No one's sure. How long must he wait before Seattle decides if it wants him? The team hasn't given any timetable for a decision.
Cleveland's interest in Holmgren isn't new. That has been percolating for more than a month.
But now, they're canoodling in public. A Browns spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Holmgren was in town along with his agent, Bob Lamonte. ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said he even knew what restaurant Holmgren dined at Monday night — Fahrenheit in Tremont.
Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke took a pass two weeks ago when asked about the possibility Holmgren could return to the franchise he coached for 10 years.
"You know, I'm not going to go there," Leiweke said during the news conference that followed Ruskell's resignation.
Will the sight of Holmgren sizing up another partner hurry the Seahawks to the dance floor or will it inspire resentment that the franchise's decision is being rushed?
That question will soon be answered because the awkward slow dance between the future Hall of Fame coach and his former franchise is beginning to speed up.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
About Danny O'Neil
Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog.
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