Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren met with the media at length Thursday afternoon, and one of his key messages was that he would be meeting with the media more often moving forward. It will serve as a way for him to gain more trust from the fans that he is committed to turning this thing around for the long haul, and to provide a clearer picture of what is going on with the organization should things go south.
In the most ideal situation, he'll get to meet with the media when the Browns are winning football games. After the jump are all of Holmgren's quotes regarding his intentions on making himself more available. An example of a way he is going to be more available? He will be interviewed on Kiley & Booms on 92.3 The Fan Friday morning, so if you're near a radio, be sure to tune in.
(Opening Statement)- "Good afternoon everybody. If I could for a couple of minutes before we get started here, I think it’s important that I talk just a little bit about the plan moving forward. I’ve talked to you about this before and I’ve mentioned it to some of you individually, also some of you collectively I think, but I think it’s important to me that it’s understood that we’re approaching our third season here with the new group.
Philosophically, it was really important to me as the President and a new president, something I’ve never done before, to come in and support the coach in any way I could, first of all, and secondly, not take anything away from his time. As a coach for a long, long time, I think I told you that anytime the president got involved with football stuff it used to irritate me a little bit and we had many discussions about that. If something was going to be said about the football team, I would like to be the one that says it. I think it’s important to have one voice, so on and so forth. That was my thinking coming into this job and this position so I’ve to do that, honestly, for a couple years.
Not that I’m hard-headed, but I have started to listen to some people and some people in this room quite honestly and then also people that I meet around town and at various things that Kathy and I are involved in, saying that, "We’d like to hear a little bit more from you about things, it’s fun," and whatever they say. This year that’s what I am going to try and do. Now, exactly how that is going to manifest itself, I couldn’t really give you the blueprint for that yet. But, I’ve talked to both Pat (Shurmur) and Tom (Heckert) about this idea and they have to know and your coach has to know that the president is on your side. You’ve got to know that and there can’t be any controversies created by things that I would say and Pat would say and Tom would say.
The hard part about it is that at times there will be a little thing that comes out where it will be easy to say, ‘Well wait a minute, he said this and he said this, what does it mean?’ That is kind of the danger of this, a little bit, but as long as they know that I have their back and we don’t want that to happen and that we have talked about most things football before any press conference takes place, either by Pat or Tom or me, but the bottom line is that I am going to try and be more available. I have a great young coach and I have a tremendous general manager and my motives in setting up the things for the first couple of years, I think were the right ones. I have no regrets about that, but in listening to, again as I said, a little bit of what people asked me when I am out and about and again, what some of you have asked me in a private moment or two, that’s how we are going to try and do that.
We’re kind of starting the ball rolling today. I know Pat had his press conference with you this week. I’m going to do this today and then when we come back in the fall I am going to be more available to you. If you ask and it doesn’t happen please understand that I’m trying to do this a different way, so that’s how we’re going to do it. It’s going to be a little bit of a change, but we all have to understand this, this is really important, that Pay Shurmur is the coach of this football team, he will make football decisions. Tom Heckert and Pat and I talk about every football decision, but the head coach has to have that responsibility otherwise it doesn’t work very well, in my opinion. That’s how it’s going to be set up."
(On if he regrets not being more available to the media)- "Do I regret it? No, I don’t’ think so. I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing this time to be honest, but I feel like as long as you don’t involve me in a big controversy with my coach, then that’s how I’d like to do it. I don’t want you to ask Pat a question the day before I talk to you then, "Oh, gotcha." Don’t do that, because then I will go back into my shell. As a coach, I was very open and very transparent and not too many things bothered me as far as my relationship with you guys. As long as I thought it was a fair and reasonable relationship. I really thought I was doing the right thing, and maybe I still was doing the right thing, but that’s how I’m going to do it."
(On if he thinks a portion of the Browns fans don’t trust him for reasons such as going on a Seattle radio show)- "I don’t know, I hope not. The Seattle radio controversy was one of the more amazing things I’ve been involved with in my whole life as a football coach or exec or whatever you want to call me right now. That was just a friend of mine that used to work on the radio station. I had no idea it would cause the ripple effect it apparently did. Other than that, if they feel that way, then that’s probably a good reason for me to be out there a little bit more and let them get to know me a little bit, if they feel that way."
(On his response to people saying he isn’t committed to the organization)- "I’ve heard that. You can get really mad at me for just about anything and I don’t usually react too much. I do read you on occasion, but not all time. You have to have thick skin in this business. When I heard that, I was sensitive to that. It bothered me because if anything I think I care probably too much. I’m committed, I made promises to our owner, and he’s kept his promises to me. Everyone’s well aware of my contract situation and all of that. There was that thing, in fact a couple of you asked me at one point if I was going to CBS or something, and for the life of me I don’t know where that came from. No, I’m committed here.
Kathy and I, we love the community. The people here have been great to us. We like it here. Now, the other reality is that again, my birthday is tomorrow, I’ll be 64 by the way, so I have some kicking to do still, but this is my last job. It’s my hope and what I really want to do is make sure this thing is turned around and going in the right direction. So I can come in here and we can talk about those things before I ever think about retiring. I am sorry that that came up. Maybe a little bit of what I’m going to try to do is in reaction to that, because I felt bad about that. People that know me, and people in the building, I think they know how much I care and how much I’m trying to get this thing to go in the right direction."
(On who he discussed his decision to me more available with)- "The first one is Kathy. If I didn't say that and she read about it, man (joking). We've been friends a long time, we've been married 41 years, she knows me. I'm not going to give you any names Tony (Grossi), but there are a couple of men in the league that I respect greatly who have been through the mill a little bit. Then, quite honestly, there are a couple of journalists that I respect greatly and knowing that everyone comes at it from a little different angle. Everyone sees it through a different lens. Lastly, I would say I just had a feeling. The question about not caring or leaving, I heard that one at some point and I said well, if I don't fix anything, that one I have to fix. Some of you have talked to me about this and I want it to help. I want it to help. I do not want it to be a burden on our coach or our general manager. If I can help and open things up and make things a little clearer for our fans, that's my goal. That is my only goal."