RENTON – Mike Holmgren is getting a fitting finale in Seattle: Brett Farve and a chance of snow.
Two years ago, the last time Favre came to the Northwest to reunite with his friend and former mentor, Seattle had a rare snowstorm during the game.
And Holmgren’s last trip back to Green Bay, where he and Favre won a Super Bowl in 1997, came in last January’s playoffs. A blizzard turned Lambeau Field into a snow globe as the Packers buried Holmgren’s Seahawks by three touchdowns.
Farve is with the AFC East co-leading Jets (9-5) now but the forecast is the same for Holmgren’s final home game as the Seahawks’ coach before he takes a self-described sabbatical from football in 2009.
“Here we go again. … If that happened, it probably means I should take a year off,” Holmgren said Monday, laughing at the 40-percent chance of snow for his final reunion with the quarterback he brought to Green Bay with him in 1992 before molding the wild gunslinger into a champion.
“It’s going to be a very, very big game for them. And it will be a fun game for me,” he said.
Holmgren joked he has the perfect attire ready for Favre on Sunday.
“You know the hat I wore in the playoff game in Green Bay? I still have it. There’s a foot of snow on it. I’ve kept it in the freezer,” Holmgren said, recalling the memorable images of snow stacked on the brim of his Seahawks cap and mustache. “I can whip that baby out and put it on.”
Props likely will not help make Holmgren’s home finale a winning one in a trying season.
The injury ravaged Seahawks (3-11) won for the first time in nearly two months on Sunday, with a last-second field goal at even more woeful St. Louis (2-12). Holmgren said Monday he is expecting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to be out against the Jets for the third consecutive game. The three-time Pro Bowl thrower has yet to pass doctors’ tests on the bulging disk in his back that has caused him to miss seven games.
So unless Holmgren gets the huge, unexpected gift of Hasselbeck’s return before the weekend, backup Seneca Wallace will make his third consecutive start. Wallace is coming off two of the stronger games of his six-year career — but will likely be operating behind an offensive line consisting entirely of backups.
Starting tackle Sean Locklear dislocated his toe as Olindo Mare kicked the winning field goal on the final play in St. Louis and was splayed on his back while his teammates celebrated. Holmgren said it will be a challenge for Locklear to get ready to play the Jets.
Locklear was starting his second consecutive game for perennial All-Pro Walter Jones, who went on injured reserve Monday following microfracture surgery on his knee. Now, Kyle Williams may start as Plan C at the all-important left tackle spot, protecting Wallace’s back side. Williams was promoted from the practice squad a few weeks ago.
Jones is the fifth offensive lineman to go on injured reserve. Seattle has also had seven injuries at wide receiver and has been without Hasselbeck for almost half the season.
“I’m a little numb to it, quite honestly, right now,” Holmgren said.
Wallace was sacked three times and got battered throughout the first half on Sunday against the Rams, who blitzed incessantly. As the Seahawks trudged off the field down 17-7 with just 76 total yards on 20 plays and their only score coming on Jordan Babineaux’s fumble recovery and return, Wallace ripped into his team.
Then Holmgren did the same in the locker room.
“This was kind of like a scrimmage in the beginning,” the coach said.
He added the veteran-laden team’s habit of essentially sleeping through the early parts of road games must change under his successor, current defensive backs coach Jim Mora.
“It’s something that has to be worked on around here, there’s no question about that,” Holmgren said.
But as he added about 2009 in general, “I’m going to be on a beach somewhere.”
Holmgren has a plan for Seahawks fans immediately after his finale in Seattle — beyond the snow-brimmed cap.
“They might leave — they have dinner reservations, you know — but I was going to take one little walk around the field and thank the people,” Holmgren said. “That’s the plan. It doesn’t sound very exotic, but that’s what I’d like to do.”
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