Former Packers Coach Mike Holmgren as testy as ever


Mike Holmgren had some terse words for those running his former team, the Cleveland Browns. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports photograph

When Mike Holmgren was head coach of the Green Bay Packers there wasn’t any secret that he was opinionated and did things his way.

In a radio interview following the recent trade of running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, Holmgren blasted the Browns’ brass for a move that he called nothing short of stupid.

You see, Holmgren, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame inductee, drafted Richardson last year in the first round and simply couldn’t believe the Browns had made the move to ship the young player to the Colts.

Consider this – how would Holmgren have reacted if GM Ron Wolf had traded Brett Favre one year after they had secured him in a trade? Holmgren, in his interview, called Richardson the team’s best player. Back in the day, Favre was clearly the Packers’ best player, so one could imagine his reaction had that been the case.

“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.”

In fact, Holmgren was so opposed to this move that he said that had he been the coach he would have walked. “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.'”

In a story today on about Holmgren’s reaction, the former head coach and Browns’ executive let loose with both barrels and only hammers home the personality that he has brought to the game. It’s no wonder he was a success in the league, and it’s no wonder that he was so successful along the sidelines, especially in Green Bay.

With his strong personality, he did things his way while in charge of the Packers team. I’m sure there were probably some lively discussions with Wolf, his GM at the time. But he wasn’t the type to do something that he didn’t want to do. You might remember back to those days when the Packers pulled off many personnel moves that made the team better. Topped by the acquisition of Reggie White, there were many others – Favre, Desmond Howard, Keith Jackson, and Sean Jones – who were brought in at the right time to improve the team. No doubt, Holmgen’s fingerprints were all over those moves.

It was that same personality that surfaced yesterday when Holmgren made his statements.

It also makes one wonder about the Browns’ organization and the seemingly questionable direction they are taking at this time. Does getting rid of their best offensive player, as Holmgren says, make the team better? Will it do so down the road?

It will be interesting to watch this move and its consequences unfold over the next year or so.

One thing is for certain – the Packers will be facing an entirely different team when the Browns come to Lambeau Field in October. Without Richardson, opponents will most likely be facing an offense with much less explosive potential.

Holmgren may be verbose, but in this case, he’s probably right.

What do you think?