Mike Holmgren rips Browns; Says he’d want to be Fired as HC after Richardson Trade

  • Justin "Arby" Arbogast

Mike Holmgren was trying to turn things around in Cleveland. Although it didn’t happen as fast as he’d have liked it to, the team took giant steps forward during his regime. He helped build a solid, underrated defense, brought in a would-be franchise player in Trent Richardson, and drafted a quarterback thought to turn things around, paired with a solid offensive line.

On paper, the Browns looked pretty good under Holmgren. The win-loss record didn’t measure up though, and the Browns started from scratch this year.

Trent Richardson, drafted third overall in the 2012 Draft, was traded this week to the Colts for a first-round pick, and the former Browns executive is not happy about it.

(Photo: Michael Conroy, AP)

(Photo: Michael Conroy, AP)

Mike Holmgren said if he were there as the head coach, he’d want his walking papers as well.

“Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, I’d say ‘OK, fire me, or I’m going to quit. Or we’re going to both go into the owner and talk about this and the we’ll see who’s still standing.’ ” said Holmgren, via Cleveland.com

Many have said that the move is better for the Browns in the long run, with two first round picks in the 2014 draft to build around, just as they had in 2012. But the new regime was ready to risk it all, and pull the trigger letting go of Richardson.

For this year, it instantly makes the team far worse. They’ve signed Willis McGahee, but he’s no Richardson.

“How do you make your team better by trading your best player?” Holmgren said. “He’s the best offensive player. He’s a valuable, valuable guy.”

If he was presented with the situation by the GM, and told that the Owner had signed off, he said he’d walk away from his position.

“I’d shake hands and walk. I would. Because if I disagreed with it vehemently, and I couldn’t buy in, I mean, I’m not saying I’m right, I’m saying that’s what I would do, because you have to be true to yourself in this business.” He said.

Richardson accounted for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, a pretty good year for a rookie that dealt with several injuries, including broken ribs. He has had a slow start this season with 31 carries for just 105 yards, but that’s largely in part due to Norv Turner’s offensive philosophy to this point in the season.

He won’t be a water boy this week for the Colts this week either, as Chuck Pagano said that they plan to give Richardson ‘as much as he can handle’ against a 49ers defense known to stuff the run.

Holmgren continued, saying that the Browns hit the panic button and acted too quickly, giving up on the season.

“To me, they’re putting all their eggs for next season,” He said. “They started off 0-2, they couldn’t score any points, I think it was a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction. There’s a little bit of a ‘what’s going on?’ I don’t know this for sure but I can sense it. Indianapolis is probably going to have a pretty good year, so that pick is probably going to be 23, 24, right in there. And to package something to move up in the draft, we couldn’t package our 4 and our 7 for RGIII last year and we had more ammunition.”

Holmgren also shed some light on that 2012 draft, after unsuccessfully landing a trade for RGIII, he said he offered the Colts his entire draft and then some for that number one pick to draft Andrew Luck.

“I talked to him last year before we made the trade,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ll give you all of our draft picks for the No. 1 pick and I’ll take Luck. I’ll give the whole draft to you.

“I said, ‘Ryan let’s do the deal, right now, right here.’ He said, ‘We’re taking Luck.’ We were by the pool, I might’ve even had a lemonade in my hand. He didn’t take me seriously, because I was ready to pull the trigger. They were going to take him, and they should’ve taken him. They did the right thing, but he said if some craziness would’ve happened, they would’ve taken Trent Richardson. And now a year later, they get both of them. If you asked him last year, ‘Would you trade your 24th pick in the first round for Trent Richardson,’ you would do that easily.”

Now the Colts have the first overall, and the third overall from that draft, and it didn’t cost them much.

Update: Browns CEO Joe Banner got word of Holmgren’s feelings and said “Mike’s entitled to his opinion, He ran the team for three years and was able to do what he believed in. It’s our turn trying to do what we think is right. Obviously wouldn’t have done this if we agreed with his comments.”


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Down and Distance Editor-in-Chief – Justin Arbogast @NFLGuy_SK


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