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Holmgren: Not enough wins caused firing

Departing Cleveland president Mike Holmgren didn’t have time to earn a Super Bowl ring with the Browns. (Associated Press)
Departing Cleveland president Mike Holmgren didn’t have time to earn a Super Bowl ring with the Browns. (Associated Press)
From Staff And Wire Reports

NFL: The coaching itch never completely left Mike Holmgren, who will walk away from the Cleveland Browns feeling mostly dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

His three years as an NFL executive didn’t go as hoped.

“We did not win enough games,” Holmgren said Tuesday at his farewell news conference. “I’m hoping the table is set for the future.”

Holmgren won’t be part of it.

After being hired by Randy Lerner in December 2009 to fix a dysfunctional franchise, Holmgren won’t complete his five-year contract as team president of the Browns, who now belong to new owner Jimmy Haslam

Since Holmgren arrived, the Browns are just 10-29, a record that pains the 64-year-old former coach who twice went to the Super Bowl with Green Bay and once with Seattle. He came to Cleveland with the best intentions, and while he succeeded in rebuilding the front office, repairing broken business relationships and helping add roster talent, Holmgren failed to deliver a winner.

“The record speaks for itself and ultimately people are judged on how many games you win,” he said. “But there’s a lot more that goes into an organization than that.”

NFL approves Packers’ stadium funding: The Green Bay Packers will benefit from an NFL stadium construction program included in the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.

League owners have approved the Packers’ request for $58 million to help renovate Lambeau Field, the NFL announced in an email.

The Packers are in the process of adding about 7,000 seats in the south end zone at Lambeau Field and have already installed a new sound system, video boards and an entrance. The team’s recent stock sale raised $67 million for the $143 million renovation.

San Francisco received money for construction of a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. NFL owners in February approved a $200 million loan.

Nowitzki plans cautious recovery

nba: Now that Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is through the first knee surgery of his career, he’ll lean on the longest absence of his 14 NBA seasons to figure out how soon he can come back.

The short answer: He won’t rush it.

The 11-time All-Star walked gingerly but without a noticeable limp in his first post-op meeting with reporters, four days after arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee. He said he’s encouraged but wouldn’t go much past that.

Coach Rick Carlisle has said Nowitzki would miss six weeks.

All the 34-year-old Nowitzki knows is he came back too soon after sitting out nine games when the same knee was sore during Dallas’ championship season two years ago.

Harrington takes Grand Slam lead

Golf: Padraig Harrington, a playoff loser the two times he qualified for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, gave himself a chance to win as an alternate.

Harrington made seven birdies for a 5-under-par 66 at Port Royal in Southampton, Bermuda, to take a two-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson going into the final round of the 36-hole exhibition for the year’s four major champions.

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson had a 69. Keegan Bradley, who replaced PGA champion Rory McIlroy, rounded out the field with a 72.

Harrington was asked three days ago to fill in for British Open champion Ernie Els, who has a minor ankle injury.

Wambach connects in tie with Germany

Miscellany: Abby Wambach scored for the 23rd time this year, but the U.S. had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Germany, the teams’ second draw in four days.

Dzenifer Marozsan scored twice for the Germans, including the equalizer in the 85th minute at East Hartford, Conn.

Tobin Heath gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute on an assist from Alex Morgan, who had two in the match.

Serena Williams wins: In her first match since winning the U.S. Open in September, Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 to start round-robin play in the season-ending WTA Championships event featuring the top eight players in the world at Istanbul.

In White Group matches, Agnieszka Radwanska defeated titleholder Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2, and Maria Sharapova defeated Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in a repeat of the French Open final.

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