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December 21, 2009 - Mike McLain
According to all accounts, Mike Holmgren will be hired by the Browns at some point this week to head football operations.
Chris Mortensen of "ESPN" reported Monday morning that the deal is all but done. Because it is Christmas week, Holmgren and the Browns have decided to hold off on an official announcement until perhaps later in the week.
The contract will probably be for about six years (not 10 as originally reported). Speculation on financial terms puts the figure at about $6 million per year.
One thing about the Browns is that they're never out of the news. Has anyone heard about the Cavaliers lately? The Indians? The Browns are the number one show in northeast Ohio, and it's clear by what's happening now.
That's not about to stop anytime soon. Once Holmgren is in place, the first decision will be whether or not to retain Eric Mangini as coach. Holmgren hasn't ruled out speculation of a return to the sideline.
Free agency isn't that far away (early March), followed by the draft. The Browns will have 11 picks in the draft, barring trades.
The Holmgren hiring is arguably the biggest move the franchise has made since returning to the NFL in 1999. He's widely respected and has a winning track record.
In making the move, Browns owner Randy Lerner has removed a large burden from his shoulders. Critics that say he's more interested in his soccer team than the Browns have no more fuel for their complaints. Bringing in Holmgren also means that Lerner can't be a target of criticism if things don't go well in coming seasons.
It's now all about Holmgren.
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