Mike Holmgren was president of the Cleveland Browns from 2010-12, but he was an NFL coach for many years before that. It is from that perspective that he reportedly ripped the franchise for trading running back Trent Richardson.
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"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,’ " he told Sports Radio KJR in Seattle. "Or we’re both going to go into the owner and talk about this and then we’ll see who’s still standing."
The trade — in return Cleveland secured a first-round pick from the Indianapolis Colts — infuriated Browns fans, who took it as a sign the organization was already giving up on this season. Less partial observers have noted that Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, has averaged 3.5 yards per carry (well below the league average) in 17 games for the Browns, and just 62.1 yards per game.
That hardly means Richardson can’t play, or won’t develop into a star, but you can’t blame the Browns for betting they can find 62 rushing yards somewhere else.
Of course, that doesn’t do much for first-year Browns coach Rod Chudzinski. In professional sports, the head coach is always the first goat to get scalped (maybe No. 2, if the quarterback is very poor, which looks like a possibility in this instance) and he has already been undercut by management two games into his tenure.
Holmgren didn’t take up for Chudzinski, specifically, but that’s the effect of his rant.
"To me, they’re putting all their eggs for next season," he said. "They started of 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 four and our seven for RGIII last year, and we had more ammunition."
In addition to going after Robert Griffin III, Holmgren revealed that he offered Indianapolis his entire draft for the rights to Andrew Luck.
"I said, ‘I’ll give you all of our draft picks for the No. 1 pick and I’ll take Luck,’ " he said. "I’ll give the whole draft to you."
In other words, Holmgren thought the Browns needed players more than draft picks.