Holmgren sends mixed messages on Clausen

BEREA, Ohio --Does Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren like Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen?

A few weeks ago Holmgren hinted that he didn't like Clausen as much as he would prefer. But on Thursday Holmgren praised Clausen during his pre-draft press conference to no end.

So what's the deal?

"Prior to any draft, I say any number of things for any number of reasons," Holmgren said with a sly grin. "So it was important, I think, that [Clausen] and I talked about that in case he misunderstood. We had a very good conversation, and he's a fine young man and he's a good football player. So I would not read too much into [the comment]."

Welcome to silly season, football fans.

NFL executives will say and do just about anything to get the player they actually covet in the draft. A lot is being said and reported, but the closer you get to the draft the less you can believe.

Is Clausen more in play for Cleveland at No. 7? Or is this sudden praise a unique ploy to drive up trade value? After all, Holmgren also admits he's talked to various teams about moving up and down the draft board.

Everyone will get their answers next week.