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Grossi: Holmgren did “absolute minimum” while in Cleveland

It takes a serious blow for anyone on a team with the best left tackle in the game to be blindsided by any play, but when Randy Lerner decided to sell the majority portion of the Cleveland Browns back in June, team president Mike Holmgren found himself face down with a mask full of field turf.

ESPNCleveland’s Tony Grossi’s latest discusses the man who was brought in to fix the Browns, but instead will ride into the sunset following the third season of what was to be a five-year journey to Super Bowl contention. 

“Whatever the severance package, Holmgren’s likely final contract as an NFL coach or executive – he’ll be 65 next June — secured him the distinction of hauling in more money in his career than any non-player, non-owner and non-commissioner in NFL history,” writes Grossi. “Bill Parcells had one more Super Bowl championship than Holmgren, but he couldn’t match Holmgren’s career earnings. After leaving the community-owned Green Bay Packers, Holmgren hit the lottery by signing up with billionaires Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, and the Lerner Family Trust.”

Damning is the conclusion of the report that states the team president “did the absolute minimum” during his stay in Cleveland, slipping out early during sales meetings, and showing up late to Berea — on one specific occasion, arriving after Jimmy Haslam III who came in from Knoxville, Tennesee while Holmgren was already in Cleveland. Holmgren was brought in to be the de facto owner of the Browns. Ironically, he seemingly stepped right into the shoes vacated by Lerner, right on down to the desire.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 7: Winner and Losers]

  • Hopwin

    If Holmgren decided to make it rain you’d need an Ark to ride it out. Fortunately for all of us he keeps that cash secured in his Scrooge McDuck Moneybin for swimming purposes only.

  • mgbode

    “My initial excitement about Holmgren taking over the Browns’ fortunes was based on the assumption he would coach.”

    at least Grossi can finally get over it. Holmgren came here to act as owner/president. Not to coach. No matter how many times you asked him or phrased the question differently. Get over it man.

  • maxfnmloans

    /begin “Ted” Theodore Logan voice

    Vaya con dios, Dude. Excellent!

    /end “Ted” Theodore Logan voice

  • BenRM

    I fully support his firing Jim Brown. Brown didn’t appear to actually do anything (much like Holmgren, ZING!) and he was and is a lightning rod for controversy.

  • MrCleaveland

    Wow, that’s pretty harsh. Grossi seems to nurture personal vendettas and let them leak into his “reporting.” I wonder if Holmgren’s work habits will come up during his press conference today. (By the way, why is he doing one? What’s the point?)

    I have mixed feelings. The Big Show did a few good things here, like hiring Heckert, starting the ring of honor, getting rid of the turd pants, and stuff we may never know about. However, he just didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to start winning.

  • Clown Baby

    Agreed. It will be interesting to see how Haslam reacts the first time Brown criticizes the coach/organization to the media. My prediction: not well.

  • Bryan

    Classic Grossi. This dude tried his hardest to drive Mangini out of town, celebrated Holmgren’s arrival like it was the arrival of Jesus himself, and now throws him under the bus as he leaves town because it is no longer possible for any reasonable person to defend the horrendously self-indulgent decision he made while here.

    See ya Mike. Enjoy the Seattle Rain.

    Grossi – Just go away already. Please. You are the worst.

  • Garry_Owen

    “following the third season of what was to be a five-year journey to Super Bowl contention”
    Only two more years to go! Super Bowl!!!!

  • Roosevelt

    The Grossi article is ridiculous. While Holmgren clearly didn’t do a good job, there are almost no facts in the article to back up Grossi’s ad hominem point. Okay, Holmgren didn’t meet with VIPs long enough, and Jim Brown didn’t like him. (We’ve reached a point where people whom Jim Brown doesn’t like have MORE credibility, if anything. Also, Tennessee is further away from Browns’ Stadium than Cleveland is, so everyone in Cleveland is always there earlier than everyone from Tennessee.

    It’s a sign of bad reporting when fans are ahead of the experts. People have been saying, accurately or not, that Holmgren is detached, more interested in Seattle than Cleveland. Grossi whips this out when Holmgren is on his way out of town, and does it with less factual support and less flair than the commenters on WFNY, Cleveland Frowns, and others.

  • Harv 21

    Grossi as parody of himself.

    Really, Holmgren’s failures are exemplified by his canning the director of team security and lifetime entitlement blowhard Jim Brown? Or by ticking off the widow of the late owner?

    The Holms hire may be criticized because he had no history as a successful football exec, or because he made clear that his 18-hour work days were over, or that he wanted to treat coaches as he would have wanted to be treated rather than feeling the required urgency to move the team forward. But this is a transparent hatchet job by an embittered writer whose hubris after years occupying a primo sports beat brought on his own demise. Grossi is turning into a blowhard hack, like one of those “better have a strong take and get attention” guys. Never mind the irony of a guy who was, in his last years at the PD, always slow breaking stories now accusing Holmgren of mailing it in.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Look at all the people blaming the messenger when clearly Holmgren did so well while he was here. Utterly amazing sometimes I really wonder when I hear or see the words “best fans used” to describe Cleveland. I would like the word “best” to be defined in those instances.

  • BrownsFanBrad

    One other real negative goes back to Shurmur’s first season. If you’ll recall, when Shurmur was seeking to hire an offensive coordinator (prior to the 2011 season), it was Holmgren who said, “Why don’t you serve as head coach and offensive coordinator?” Unfortunately, Shurmur took the advice – I’m sure he was too intimidated to stand up to Holmgren. We all saw what a disaster that turned out to be. I think this was major lack of judgment on Holmgren’s part to think that his rookie head coach could do both roles.

  • porckchopexpress

    Other stories Grossi is preparing to “break”; Structural instability in the Hindenburg may lead to future problems. Roosevelt should take the Japanese threat in the Pacific more seriously. And of course Grossi knows that the O-ring seals on the Challenger will fail in cold temperatures.
    He just seems to have a knack for piling on rather than reporting.
    As for this report on Holmgren, I still think every ounce of anger or hatred or any other ill feelings should be directed at Teflon Randy. This guy is single handedly the worst owner possibly of all time in any sport. To steal from Legends of the Fall, he is the rock so many people broke themselves against. Randy acts like he did something noble by “honoring his father” while stewarding the Browns even though his heart wasn’t in it. What would have honored his father and the people who live in this area, would be if Randy had rolled up his sleeves and threw himself into the job of being owner of the Browns, even though his heart wasn’t in it. Randy is a grown man who – when given only one responsibility – failed. He’s an overgrown child who wouldn’t be suited for cleaning up the stadium were he not born into wealth and privledge. Now that he’s gone his name should be muttere with the same disgust as Modell.

  • porckchopexpress

    You should’ve read the fine print. The Super Bowl promise is void if Mike gets fired. Basically Haslem just cost us our first title. We need to get him shipped back to Tennessee before he does any more damage.

  • mgbode

    Holmgren never said we’d win that Superbowl

  • Thompsons5@hotmail.com

    Pretty $$hitty of the Great and All Powerful Oz , er, I mean Tony Grossi, to pen such a column and then not show up for Mike H’s news conference.

  • Thompsons5@hotmail.com

    Afraid he might have to defend himself??

  • mgbode

    that’s a shame. would have been great humor to have Grossi ask Holmgren one last time if he was going to coach next season (since he was no longer team president).

  • nxmehta

    I’m surprised that everyone is upset with Grossi here. I actually appreciate hearing some of the dirt on Holmgren. Sure, some of it is ad-hominem. But the points about showing up late and leaving early are relevant. Without info like that it’s hard for me to understand how someone so talented and successful could fail so horribly in Cleveland.

  • Harv 21

    Haslam can handle Jim Brown fine with his good biz acumen and people skills. Just let him sit in the owner’s box a few times a year so when he’s on camera the announcers can intone “the great Jim Brown, still a legend and an integral part of this organization.” That’s the kind of stroking that shuts Jim up for a while, at least until Mary Kay calls him again.

    Only let him into Berea with a Jimmy Haslam arm around his shoulder so he can lead him back out. And keep him the hell away from Banner. That dude will not suffer this fool gladly, won’t bother to fake a smile, won’t listen to his football or life philosophies, and certainly won’t pretend he needs Jim Brown’s input.

    Jim Brown is transparent, a stunted jock star ego trapped in a lonely old man body. Handling him should not be that hard.

  • porckchopexpress

    Man I love some classic Grossi. His first few albums are timeless. I’ve got “I’m goin’ whichever way the wind is blowin'” on vinyl and I still dust it off now and then, its a great lead in to Alex Bevan’s Springboard. Sure he never changed his tune and fell into the trap of riding trends and then dumping on them when something new came along (remember when he “reinvented himself” as a grunge era populist in ’96?). He really is alot like AC/DC except listening to Grossi has never made women look for a pole to start writhing around.