Mike Holmgren's Not Coming Back To Seattle Soon, so Don't Fret About It

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMay 14, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 21: Head coach Mike Holmgrem of the Seattle Seahawks waves to fans after his final home game as head coach against the New York Jets on December 21, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Jets 13-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Why are people ripping Mike Holmgren for talking about how it would be nice to work for the Seahawks again someday?  

Dave Boling and Mike Sando seem to think Holmgren was out of line Tuesday answering a question by KJR radio’s Dave Mahler about whether he would like to return to Seattle at some point. 

Holmgren began by stating the obvious: “Right now it would be pretty hard to say that.” 

And after he expressed his love for the city and his appreciation of how CEO Tod Leiweke has rebuilt the franchise’s reputation locally, he told Mahler, “I would never say never. That would be a nice thing if I could come back in some capacity and work for the club, but right now they are pretty much set and they are going to have a good season.”

Seemed like a simple, diplomatic answer to a potentially loaded question. But Boling and Sando think Holmgren stepped on the toes of president Tim Ruskell by saying it would be nice to come back.

“He [Ruskell] doesn’t deserve the specter of Holmgren circling the headquarters in case of a bad season,” Boling wrote in his column in The News Tribune. “And Holmgren should be above any appearance that he’s lobbying for it.”

Sando, a former TNT reporter who now covers the NFC West for ESPN, piled on: “Totally agree. It’s bad form to fuel speculation about possibly rejoining the team when everyone knows a return would come at Ruskell’s expense.”

They apparently think Holmgren meant it would be nice to come back in 2010. Of course he didn’t mean that. He obviously meant way down the line—if things changed.

It’s true Holmgren and Ruskell had a tenuous relationship. Both were in tough spots, as Holmgren resented the fact that the GM duties had been taken from him in 2003 and Ruskell disliked the fact that he had to tiptoe around a coaching legend while trying to build the team.

Boling and Sando make a big deal of the fact that Holmgren does not mention Ruskell when talking about the Seahawks. But who cares? Everyone knows why (you’d be annoyed, too, if your GM let your All-Pro guard leave with no compensation), and no one needs to cry about it.

For the less sensitive and politically motivated out there, it was nice to hear Holmgren on the radio, talking about what he is doing and the fact that he definitely wants to return to the league in 2010.

Although he did not mention Ruskell, he was very complimentary of the way the Seahawks have done business this offseason—from signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to drafting Aaron Curry to managing to keep Leroy Hill.

Holmgren also praised his replacement, coach Jim Mora, for his role in the Hill negotiations and for his way of communicating with players.

Holmgren seemed relaxed and was very candid, which is actually refreshing to some of us. He answered Mahler’s questions honestly, and if that rubbed anyone the wrong way, it shouldn’t have.

One of his funniest exchanges came at the end when he talked about the ongoing Brett Favre soap opera. While Holmgren and his family were at Disney World, he had an apropos “it’s a small world” encounter with Favre, who also was there with his family.

Holmgren said he teased the quarterback about his on-again-off-again flirtation with retirement. Holmgren told Favre he didn’t have anything left to prove, and Favre said, “Yeah, I’m done.”

But Holmgren was dubious, telling Favre: “Yeah, well, you’ve told me that four times.”

Holmgren said he has faced Favre in his “last game” two or three times—in Green Bay in the 2005 season finale, in the playoffs in January 2008, against the Jets in December 2008—“and then all of a sudden he comes back.”

Holmgren said he would not be surprised if Favre came back. “If his arm’s healthy, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he played one more year in Minnesota. It would not surprise me at all. I stopped being surprised by him when I was coaching him, a long, long time ago.

“After many years of being left at the altar on this one, I’m just going to wait and see how it unfolds.”

Just like everyone else will do with Holmgren’s career next year.

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