Mike Holmgren slams Browns for Trent Richardson trade

Former Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren voiced his displeasure of the team’s recent trading of running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick. Making his regular appearance on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle with host Dave “Softy” Mahler, Holmgren pulled no punches when providing his thoughts on the deal.

“When I was told about it, my daughter phoned me, I thought she was kidding around,” Holmgren said of the deal. “I didn’t believe it. I really didn’t. Then I went on my computer and saw it. I had a lot of emotions. Because I really liked the young man. I really think he’s an outstanding football player. He was something that we needed last year and he had a really fine first year, his rookie year, a really good year. Played through pain, injury. So I was startled by that.”

The Browns, under Holmgren and then former general manager Tom Heckert, traded up to the No. 3 spot in the 2012 draft to select Richardson out of Alabama. The consensus best running back in the draft, Richardson drew comparisons to Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson who was selected seventh overall back in 2007. Holmgren not only panned the trading of a first-round pick 15 games into his career, but immediately called out the Browns for quitting on the 2013 season two weeks in.

“I wanted to make sense of it,” said Holmgren. “I’m thinking, ‘What in the world?’ It appears after seeing the press conference that—they’re not coming right out and saying it—they’re kind of preparing for next year, preparing for next year’s draft. Because the coach said we want to be competitive. Who’s gonna be the running back? They don’t even know who’s gonna be the running back this week. How do you make the team better by trading your best player? He’s their best offensive player. He’s a valuable, valuable guy.”

Subsequent to Holmgren’s comments, the Browns named the recently acquired Willis McGahee as the starting running back for the team’s Week 3 contest against the Vikings. He will join third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer in the team’s new starting offense as Brandon Weeden (the Browns’ other first-round pick in 2012, N0. 22 overall) nurses an injured thumb on his throwing hand. Holmgren stated that had he have been in Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski’s position, he would have been forced to walk away.

“Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in and did that, said we’re going to do this, then I’d say, ‘OK fire me,’ or I’m gonna quit,” said Holmgren of the team tanking. “We’re both going in to the owner and talk about this and we’ll see who’s still standing.

“I don’t know the coach, but I know people who know him say he’s a great coach, good guy. It’s his first head coaching job. But, boy oh boy, there would be a conversation. I’d shake hands and walk. I would. Because if I disagreed with it vehemently, and I couldn’t buy in … that’s what I would do. You have to be true to yourself in this business.”

[Related: Joe Banner’s Browns have not earned the benefit of the doubt]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That whole draft was a f-up and I clearly remember waiting for it because they had stockpiled and maneuvered for it. Grrrrrrrrrrrreat job. This is why 10 picks next year means absolutely nothing to me. It’s also why unless they completely tank their judgment will be what determines the next QB and based on the last 14 years you know how I feel about trusting another group. Jacksonville is almost a lock for the worst team which means everyone else chooses from who is left. This isn’t a recipe to land a “franchise” QB it’s a recipe for another disaster but we’ll see what happens there’s an unfortunately long time to go.

  • FearTheRoo

    How many wins has Banner & Co gotten us? ZERO?

    Holmgren won a SB. Banner, Lombardi, Haslam, and Chud combined for how many? Even in Philly, Banner’s teams only made it once.

  • Couldn’t agree more. This year’s draft should give everyone pause, especially coupled with Lombardi’s shoddy past. I think Bridgewater is a cut above the rest of the guys in the discussion. If I’m forced to endure this miserable season of turd slinging ‘football’ and they don’t end up with the best guy I don’t have much faith that they then find, and coach up, the next best thing.

  • eldaveablo

    And Danny Ferry was trying to win when he signed Hughes, Marshal and ones in one offseason.

    Sometimes you need to see the long view, and I think that’s what Banner is doing. Holms instilled an antiquated philosophy, and then drafted a bunch of square pegs to smash into round holes. Talented pegs? Debatable.

    Banner is changing the old philosophy and getting rid of the pieces that don’t fit. He found pieces to fit on defense last year – can they find pieces that fit the offense next year? We’ll see.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This is why this organization has had so many different people running it because GOOD organizations don’t run things in this manner. That’s why yesterday goes so far beyond the actual trade forget how you feel about Richardson and what he’s done or might do. Trades like this don’t happen after two weeks and it’s why it was such a national story. I would think even a Browns fan would understand it but clearly they must not which explains how they still garner the attendance they do.

    Speaking of attendance I’d like to ask a question. If the Browns were to buy back PSLs from people do you all think they’d still have the same attendance? I don’t.

  • BenRM


  • Natedawg86

    Mike Holmgren slams browns for trent richardson trade…then slams 4 double bacon cheeseburgers

  • Return if of the Alex Mack

    Who scores more TDs in thr next 15 games, Trent Richardson or the entire Browns offense?

  • Return of the Alex Mack

    14 games*

  • nj0


  • arnold_palmer

    I read about this interview somewhere else, and he said he did offer the entire draft, but that it was poolside, and Grigson wasn’t taking him seriously.

  • arnold_palmer

    Richardson, this Sunday.

  • arnold_palmer

    We could be in year 3 of the Pat Shurmur era.

  • BenRM

    I’ll be watching a lot more UCLA than I am used to, that’s for sure.

  • FWIW, which is quite literally nothing, Hundley doesn’t wow me. I’ve seen him miss some very makable throws, his accuracy and in particular his footwork doesn’t look right. Again, coming from an admittedly untrained eye.

  • Robbie S

    Good. If Holmgren doesn’t like it, it makes me think there’s a better chance it was the right move.

  • dljenni

    1 in 3 games. Better winning % than Holmgren had here!