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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Fumbled opportunity on Holmgren

By Steve Kelley Seattle Times

ROCK BOTTOM, Wash. – No disrespect to Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, but imagine what this Sunday afternoon could have been.

The Seahawks could have announced on Saturday that Mike Holmgren was returning.

They could have signed him as team president and given him the muscle needed to begin the difficult process of rebuilding the foundation of a franchise that has been weakened to the point of irrelevance by poor personnel decisions.

And then on Sunday, just before the kickoff of their meaningless game against Tampa Bay, they could have run a scoreboard montage of Holmgren’s greatest moments in Seattle. They could have shown him hoisting the 2005 NFC championship trophy.

Imagine the spice Holmgren would have added to as dead a Sunday afternoon as the Seahawks have had since the end of the Tom Flores era. Imagine, if he had been hired, the Jack Zduriencik-like buzz he could have returned to pro football in this town.

It could have happened. This was the job Holmgren wanted. It was the organization he knew the best. This was where he lived and where he worked for 10 years.

On Friday it was this close to reality.

The Seahawks, it appeared, had come to their senses. Sure it had taken them a while to get to this point. They should have hired Holmgren three weeks ago, the day after president and general manager Tim Ruskell announced his resignation.

But that seemed irrelevant on Friday. The Seahawks were ready to negotiate. They were prepared to make a deal.

And then they botched it. They fumbled away this opportunity the same careless way quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fumbled away the Hawks first scoring opportunity in Sunday’s 24-7 loss to the Bucs.

They banked too heavily on Holmgren’s desire to stay in Seattle and they lowballed him. They didn’t low ball the money. They lowballed the responsibility.

And Saturday, reluctantly, Holmgren and his agent Bob LaMonte said thanks, but no thanks, to the Hawks offer.

“It wasn’t about the money. It was about the job,” Holmgren said by telephone from his Arizona home Sunday. “It was about what I wanted to do with the last years of my football life and the Hawks’ offer wasn’t what I wanted to do.”

It was obvious in talking with Holmgren that it was important to him that Seahawks’ fans understand he didn’t turn down the Hawks’ deal because of money. It was important that they knew it was a football decision.

But no matter who offered what during this weekend’s negotiations (the Seahawks did not respond to Holmgrem’s claims), football is a bottom-line business and the bottom line of this story is that the Seahawks lost Mike Holmgren.

He wanted the job and they blew it. No matter how they spin it, they didn’t get Holmgren and it could be years before they recover from this blunder.

On this Sunday, the Seahawks landed on Rock Bottom.

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