BEREA -- Former Browns president Mike Holmgren told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle the Browns traded their best player in running back Trent Richardson and he would’ve quit if he were the coach.
“Philosophically, if I’m the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, said we’re going to do this, my response would be fire me or I’m going to quit or we’re both going to go into the owner and talk about this and then we’ll see who’s standing,” Holmgren said Thursday.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was asked about Holmgren's comments today after practice.
“Look, I love Cleveland. I love these fans. I love this team,” Chudzinski responded. “I feel strongly that I absolutely agree with our plan, what we’ve done to this point, and bringing a winner to Cleveland. I’m focused on this game and playing in Minnesota and getting our guys ready to play and win, and focus on that alone.”
Holmgren was the man behind the selection of Richardson. He traded three draft picks to move up one spot and take Richardson with the No. 3 pick. Holmgren was let go as president when CEO Joe Banner took over during last season.
Banner responded to Holmgren’s comments this morning on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike.”
“Mike’s entitled to his opinion,” Banner said. “He ran the team for three years and was able to do what he believed in. It’s our turn trying to do what we think is right. Obviously wouldn’t have done this if we agreed with his comments.”
Banner said coach Rob Chudzinski was on board with the trade of Richardson on Wednesday to the Colts for a first-round pick in 2014.
“I think the most important thing for me to say is we don’t do anything with Chud not right in the middle of every discussion, every evaluation. Every single time I got off the phone with (Colts general manager) Ryan Grigson I went down, reported to him where we’re at. He’s a very strong believer in where we’re at and where we’re headed and how this is going to help us.
“I think the most important thing is for people to realize we’re all on the same page. This is a collaborative decision that everybody in the organization, from the owner, myself, the head coach, everybody involved felt very strongly was a good thing to do.”
Holmgren said he doesn’t know Chudzinski well and realizes he’s in his first year as a head coach.
“Now clearly the coach is OK with this,” he said. “They sat at the news conference together so they have to be OK with it. I personally would not be OK with it, he was my best offensive player, a young guy, not an eight-year veteran.”
Holmgren took the Packers and Seahawks to the Super Bowl as a coach and is nominated for the Hall of Fame this season. He reiterated he wouldn’t have stood for such a deal.
“I’d shake hands and walk. I would quit on the spot,” he said. “If I disagreed with it and I couldn’t buy in, I would. I’m not saying I’m right, that’s just what I would do. You have to be true to yourself in this business.”
Holmgren expects big things from Richardson in Indianapolis.
“Oh, boy. Indoor, on turf,” he said. “I talked to (Grigson) last year before we made the trade and I said I’ll give all our draft picks for the No.1 pick and I’ll take (Andrew) Luck. I’ll give the whole draft to you.
“So we’re at the pool and he was having one of those drinks with the umbrella with it so I thought I could take advantage of it. But they were going to take him (Luck), they should have taken him, they did the right thing. But he said if there was some craziness would have happened they would have taken Trent Richardson. If you asked (Grigson) last year, would you trade your 27th pick for Richardson, they would do it.”
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