After the emotional good-byes and the recap of 10 years of joys and disappointments, Mike Holmgren seemed ready to hang out the “Do Not Disturb” sign. Or maybe it was “Gone Fishin’.”
The Seattle Seahawks coach had promised his wife that he would take a year away from football.
He said he would evaluate his options after that, and be open to just about anything.
Sure, he had an itch to get back into the front-office side of things. He still felt the sting of having that taken away from him with the Seahawks, and he was certain he had learned from the experience and would be better the next time.
That could be among the possibilities. After the year off, of course.
And, yes, the 4-12 finish last season was a bad way to end things. A sour taste.
Seattle? Yes, he loved Seattle. It’s home to him, now.
Thank you, Seattle; Holmgren has left the building. And don’t bother checking in, he’ll be on his Harley or at the golf course.
At least that was the message when he walked away at the end of the season.
So, it’s curious that he would appear this week in a lengthy phone interview with KJR radio.
Curious that he would say basically all the same things he did on his departure. And curious that anybody feels there’s much news to him saying he wants to be back in the NFL in 2010.
But the real question is why would he resurface so quickly? Why reiterate it all after having been so desperate to get away, eager to not have press obligations?
His wife and daughter, Kathy and Calla, had gone to Africa on one of their humanitarian missions, so maybe he was bored with babysitting grandkids.
“I plan to go back to work; where and in what capacity, that is pretty vague,” he told host Dave Mahler. “We’re just going to listen and be open and see if anybody is interested.”
It all followed the script he’d used earlier. Political and appropriate. Old news.
Even when asked about perhaps returning to Seattle, Holmgren repeated his assertions about his love of the city, the fans and the franchise.
And, as it was during his exit press conferences, his praise of CEO Tod Leiweke seemed a slight-by-omission of GM Tim Ruskell.
After the obligatory “never say never” comment about returning to the team, Holmgren stretched past the script, though.
“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,” he said.
Come back in some capacity? We know he’s not talking about being a special teams assistant. What jobs might come open in 2010 that would appeal to him? Head coach? Jim Mora is starting his first season. He deserves time to make his mark. That won’t be open.
The only other appealing position is currently occupied by Ruskell, who has another year on his contract. The Hawks made it to the Super Bowl in his first season on the job, and he’s had some hits and misses since then … like many general managers.
If they go 4-12 again, then Ruskell’s situation would warrant more critical examination, of course.
It’s hard to judge such things, but most evaluators would say that Ruskell has had a good offseason and has positioned the team to bounce back at least to some extent.
He doesn’t deserve the specter of Holmgren circling the headquarters in case of a bad season. And Holmgren should be above any appearance that he’s lobbying for it.
Holmgren doesn’t need to keep his name out there. His name will be among the first to arise for any NFL job – coaching, front office or both – that opens whenever he decides it’s time to enter the market.
He spent 10 seasons here and took the team further than any coach in history. He is a fine and charitable man who has been a value to the region in so many ways.
But as for openings with the Seahawks, it would be most appropriate to just silently watch that play out from a distance.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440