Holmgren claims victory with name in news

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Mike Holmgren might be out of football for the time being, but he can claim a victory Sunday with news that the Browns want him to run their franchise.

It's far too early to figure out where Holmgren might land and in what capacity once he returns to the NFL in 2010, as he has said he hopes to do. The important thing for Holmgren is to keep his name in the conversation.

One of the biggest fears for an older coach on hiatus would be for the league to move on without him. We've seen owners hire head coaches with relatively little experience. We've seen owners pay these coaches much less than a coach with Holmgren's credentials would normally command. We've seen owners such as the Broncos' Pat Bowlen win big after replacing a proven winner (Mike Shanahan) with an unproven youngster (Josh McDaniels).

It doesn't matter whether the Broncos or other teams with newbie coaches would have enjoyed success without making changes at the top. Perceptions are what matters. For Holmgren, it's important that those perceptions recognize and reward what he has accomplished.

Holmgren wants options. If the Browns are indeed an option, that might give Holmgren some leverage with other teams. He could face competition from Shanahan, Jon Gruden and other established former coaches if he wants to return in a sideline capacity.

Before last season, I was convinced Holmgren was focused on landing a Bill Parcells-type job. He still might be. The question now is whether finishing 4-12 in his final season as Seahawks coach left Holmgren feeling as though he has unfinished business as a head coach.