The right move for Seahawks is to hire Mike Holmgren — quickly
Mike Holmgren has an offer in hand from the Cleveland Browns, and time is running short for Seahawks to make a play for their former coach and GM.
Seattle Times staff columnist
Stop. Take a deep breath. This franchise is about to go over a cliff, but it's not too late to change direction.
There should be a feeling of urgency about this day. It could be the Seahawks' last chance to do the right thing.
Mike Holmgren has returned from nearly a week's worth of talks with the Cleveland Browns. He has an offer in hand from Browns owner Randy Lerner, to be the head of their football operation, which probably means he only has this weekend to give Lerner an answer.
So the Hawks probably have this day, Friday, and only this one day, to do the right thing. They have this one day to talk with Holmgren.
If they blithely let him go to Cleveland, it would be a big mistake.
Inexplicably, Holmgren has been courted by Cleveland, while Seattle, the franchise that knew him for 10 years, publicly has given him the silent treatment. The place that knows him the best is heralding him the least. It makes no sense.
But here we are. The future of this teetering franchise is hanging in the balance. This team needs help on the offensive line and help with the pass rush. It needs more speed in the secondary. It needs playmakers on offense and it needs to find the quarterback of the future.
The Seahawks need somebody with a whole lot of wisdom and NFL experience, who will surround himself with top-rung lieutenants, to replace recently resigned general manager Tim Ruskell.
The Seahawks need Holmgren.
There are, however, people close to owner Paul Allen who are reluctant to bring him back. There are people — just a few people — who had skirmishes with Holmgren in his previous incarnation as president and coach.
There are people in the organization who, wrongly, believe Holmgren has campaigned for this job and are offended by that perceived behavior.
The Seahawks are about to jump off the rails. This has the feel of a franchise gone crazy. On the field and off, it is beginning to look like a team that has no focus and no discipline. It's a franchise that, ironically, is looking more and more like Cleveland's every weekend.
But now, it's time for the front office to rethink its strategy. Time for the decision makers to put aside their egos. Time to forget past perceived wrongs.
Four years ago, these same people rode to the mountaintop with Holmgren. They went to the Super Bowl with Holmgren as coach and with an offense — Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson, Sean Locklear and others — he rebuilt to his specifications.
He can do it again.
Good franchises put aside personality differences. You think everyone in the front office thought working for Bill Parcells was like a day at Disneyland? You think maybe Bill Walsh might have angered a few people on his way to Super Bowls?
The people who run strong franchises aren't afraid of strong personalities. They don't make decisions based on whether they can control the temperament of a coach or general manager. They don't err on the side of caution.
For this one day, at least, Mike Holmgren still is a free agent. He's still available to run the Seahawks' football operation.
Holmgren has repeatedly said he wants to stay in Seattle, near his family. And he has said that his decision won't be based on money. The Hawks might even get him for a territorial discount.
Forget about his age. At 61, his competitive fire still burns brightly. The Hawks don't have to outsmart themselves by looking for the next young genius.
Holmgren is here.
A few non-football people shouldn't keep this eminently qualified football guy from fixing this franchise, not Cleveland's.
I believe CEO Tod Leiweke knows what he's doing. I've seen him work his magic with both the Seahawks and Sounders. I know he likes and respects Holmgren.
And I hope he has Paul Allen's ear.
It's not too late to hire Mike Holmgren and begin the process of saving the team.
But that window is about to close.
Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or email@example.com.
More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists
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