In this morning's edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, Sports Illustrated's Peter King looked into some of the comments made by Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren a couple of days ago. King didn't mention anything about Holmgren's thoughts on coming back to coaching, so maybe I read too much into the reaction people would have from it. Instead, King states what he thinks Holmgren's comments on Bill Cowher means.
4. I think what really surprised me about Mike Holmgren discussing Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher as legitimate candidates for the Browns coaching job was this: He said Cowher "wasn't ready to come back and he was very honest about it.'' I find that very, very illuminating. Think of it. Cowher turns 54 in May. That is not only not too old to coach; it's almost prime time to coach. There are four big-time coaches half-a-decade older or more. Tom Coughlin is 64, Pete Carroll 59, Mike Shanahan 58, Bill Belichick 58. This will be Cowher's fifth year out of coaching. If he's not eager to get back in now, when will he be? Now it could be that since he is only seven months removed from his wife Kaye's death that is part of the reason for his reluctance to return. Or maybe it was simply that he didn't want to coach the Browns, because he sees them far away from being a winning team, and if a good team had an opening, he'd be interested.
But when a trusted guy like Holmgren says Cowher's not ready, my first impression is this: Maybe he's done for good. Maybe if he ever goes back, he'll actually be talking himself into something just because everyone around him says it's the right thing to do, not because he actually is burning to do it. When Jimmy Johnson went back to coach the Dolphins, I could tell he wasn't burning to do it. The results showed that too.
If I were an owner, and I looked at the pros and cons of Cowher in the future, I'd ask myself, and him, some serious questions about why he's going back into it. He has, by any reasonable estimate, a good $30 million to $40 million put away from his coaching and broadcast career. Will he ever be as hungry? Understand I'm not saying he won't be. It's just something I'd need to have answered satisfactorily before I give him $7 million a year and the keys to my franchise.