GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Mike Holmgren whirlwind tour is headed for Seattle, Baltimore and Philadelphia as he searches for a team that will give him total control.
The Seahawks appear to be the strongest suitor for the Green Bay Packers’ coach, but he denied he was close to signing with them.
“We just finished our season Sunday and I really expected our season to last longer,” Holmgren said Tuesday. “The clubs contacted the Packers yesterday. Now the process starts.”
Holmgren, who said he didn’t expect interest from any other teams, will fly to Seattle on Wednesday, Baltimore on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday.
“It’s going to be one of those whirlwind tours,” he said.
He indicated, however, that he might cancel those other visits if the Seahawks make him an ideal offer that allows him to be coach and general manager. Seattle, owned by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen, is loaded with young talent, has a new stadium planned for 2002 and is willing to play the free-agent market.
He also emphasized his happiness working with Packers general manager Ron Wolf and said he still might decide to stay in Green Bay and sign an extension that would make him the NFL’s highest-paid coach at about $4 million a season. The offer has been on the table since August.
“I can’t imagine a better working relationship between two men in our positions in football or in any professional sport,” Holmgren said about Wolf, who hired the coach in 1992.
“This is a great, great football job, here. So, why am I even considering any of this other stuff? Because of the challenge and I’ve always tried to push myself to limits and extend myself.”
Holmgren said even if he decides to stay in Green Bay, he’d still want to be a general manager someday. The coach has guided the Packers to six straight postseason berths, two Super Bowls, one NFL championship and an 84-42 record in seven seasons.
Packers president Bob Harlan said he hopes Holmgren stays but won’t begrudge him for leaving.
“I told him, ‘I know what your goal is, if it happens, we would just thank you for what you’ve done here and wish you well,'” Harlan said.