NFL: Week 15

Holmgren accepts job as Browns’ president

Associated Press / December 22, 2009

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Mike Holmgren has decided to see if he can fix the Cleveland Browns.

The Super Bowl-winning coach accepted a job to become the club’s president yesterday, joining a franchise needing a major makeover.

Browns owner Randy Lerner said the sides reached an agreement yesterday. Lerner said current president Mike Keenan will transition to the role of chief financial officer.

“We will spend the rest of the week finalizing the details of the agreement and will make a formal announcement next week,’’ Lerner said in a statement.

Holmgren is coming to Cleveland strictly in an executive role. On his radio show last week, he indicated his job offer with the Browns could include a return to the sideline. But Holmgren’s duties likely will focus on personnel decisions, and there’s a chance he may bring in a general manager.

It’s still not known what effect Holmgren’s hiring will have on first-year Cleveland coach Eric Mangini, who improved to 3-11 Sunday following a 41-34 victory over the Chiefs. Mangini may have strengthened his chances of staying for at least another year after leading the Browns to consecutive wins.

Holmgren, though, could choose to replace Mangini with his own coach to try and turn around the Browns, who have lost at least 10 games in six of the past seven seasons and made the playoffs just once since 1999.

On Saturday, the 61-year-old Holmgren turned down a front-office position to return to the Seahawks, sparking speculation that he was headed to Cleveland.

Mangini has one person solidly in his corner; Hall of Fame Browns running back Jim Brown told he thinks the coach deserves another year.

Also, as the Browns’ hiring of Holmgren developed yesterday, their former general manager claimed he was fired unfairly.

George Kokinis, dismissed Nov. 2 under peculiar circumstances, filed for arbitration with the NFL, asserting the Browns broke promises and didn’t allow him to fulfill the conditions of his four-year contract. Kokinis is seeking in excess of $4 million in compensation and damages.

Childress explains
A day after their first public spat, Vikings coach Brad Childress said he was only thinking about quarterback Brett Favre’s safety against a ferocious Carolina pass rush when he considered pulling him from the game Sunday night with a 1-point lead in the third quarter.

“I’m watching, and I said, ‘Hey, you know what? I’m thinking about taking you out of the game here,’’ Childress said yesterday. “I mean, you’re getting your rear end kicked.’ Through not a lot of fault of his own.’’

After their second alarming performance on national television in three weeks led to a 26-7 loss to the lowly Panthers, Favre was asked about an animated exchange he had in the third quarter with Childress with the Vikings clinging to a 7-6 lead.

“Yeah, there was a heated discussion, I guess you would call it,’’ said Favre, who remained in the game. “We were up, 7-6, at the time. No secret, I was getting hit a little bit. I felt the pressure on a lot of plays. We had 7 points. So I think everyone in the building was like, ‘They’re not moving the ball, they’re not getting points.’ Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game.’’

Mea culpa from Ryan
Rex Ryan woke up yesterday morning with a new outlook on the Jets’ playoff chances.

“We’re actually in a better situation right now this week than we were last week at this time,’’ the New York coach said. “That’s unbelievable.’’

So much so, that it stunned even Ryan, who was downright angry and frustrated after the Jets’ 10-7 loss to Atlanta. On Sunday, he said the Jets (7-7) were “obviously out of the playoffs,’’ not taking into account the many head-spinning scenarios that still give them a slim shot.

“I was dead wrong,’’ Ryan said. “You would think the head coach of the team would know the situations, know the playoff scenarios, all that. The only thing that I knew is, in my opinion, I thought we had to win out.’’

Cowboys cut Folk
The Cowboys cut kicker Nick Folk and replaced him with Shaun Suisham.

Suisham kicked for Dallas in 2005 and 2006. He was released by Washington Dec. 8 after missing a key kick - the same problem that cost Folk his job.

Folk clanged the right upright on an easy 24-yarder that would have put away Saturday night’s 24-17 victory against the unbeaten Saints. He leads the NFL with 10 misses, going 18 for 28 and missing seven of his past 11.

Suisham was released by the Redskins in large part after he missed a short field goal against New Orleans, which rallied to win in overtime.

Bulluck out for season
Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck has a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season, and outside linebacker David Thornton will have season-ending shoulder surgery later this week . . . Ravens rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee sustained in Sunday’s 31-7 victory over the Bears . . . Seattle long snapper Kevin Houser had his collapsed lung re-inflated at a local hospital. He was hurt while covering a punt in the second quarter Sunday against Tampa Bay . . . Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye will miss the rest of the season because of a broken left leg sustained Sunday. Coach Lovie Smith said Ogunleye, 32, won’t need surgery, but with an expiring contract his future with the team is in doubt . . . Eagles coach Andy Reid said it looks “pretty good’’ that running back Brian Westbrook (concussions) will play this week vs. Denver.

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