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LeBron leaves Cleveland and Holmgren accepts the extra pressure that has been placed on the Browns


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http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/...s_welcomes.html

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- LeBron James is gone and the Indians are buried in last place. So, are you ready for some football?

 

Mike Holmgren is.

 

The Browns' president -- who took two NFL teams to the Super Bowl, a place the Browns have never been -- watched in amazement last week as the area-grown James renounced his allegiance to Cleveland and the Cavaliers.

 

With the Indians in the throes of another long season, Holmgren knows James' defection turns the heat up on the Browns to fill the void of hope for Cleveland sports fans.

 

"It kind of juices you up a little bit," said Holmgren, who is recuperating from recent foot surgery. "If, in fact, all eyes are turned toward us now, that's a good thing. That's a pressure that helps you work harder, helps motivate coaches, players, management. I believe our team is better than last year, already. Now we have to prove it on the field. Shoot, that's why we all came here to try to get it done."

 

Holmgren has experienced a region that relies solely on its football to provide a rooting interest. He coached the fabled Packers in Green Bay, Wis., the smallest market in professional sports, from 1992-98. They appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one, before Holmgren moved on to Seattle for a 10-year run.

 

In Seattle, football wasn't nearly as big, until Holmgren coached the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance following the 2005 season.

 

"I think the passion -- what the Browns mean to people, a larger number of people, an older group of people for a longer period of time -- is much more like Green Bay," he said. "The city, with its major-league teams, reminds me more of Seattle. There's other entertainment that people can grab hold of. But Seattle's newer. Cleveland and Green Bay have more of a history."

 

Holmgren said he was disappointed in and surprised by James' decision to leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, but he was not surprised by the passionate reaction of Cleveland fans.

 

"What he had done prior to leaving was so spectacular and they came so close and the expectations were so high for a championship, the reaction didn't surprise me," Holmgren said. "Hey, I don't need a lot of extra stuff to talk about the [passion of the] fan base. As far as our fans, they've been long-suffering, but they're hanging in pretty good with us."

 

Holmgren has added layers of sales and marketing personnel to the organization to pump up a season-ticket base that sagged from habitual losing since the Browns returned as an expansion franchise in 1999. He said he is encouraged that sales are up from a year ago, when the Browns staggered through an historic 1-11 start before finishing with four wins in a row.

 

"I think the Indians, the Browns and the Cavaliers are partners in this city and I think it's important for the area that we all work very hard to be good and give the fans what they want," he said. "I really believe, given the passion of [Cavaliers owner] Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers will be back -- just a cast of different characters.

 

"Our plan is our plan. Yeah, I'm putting a lot of pressure on the guys at work to get this thing right. But it's good. It's football. Regardless of what happened with LeBron, we have a plan and are sticking to it and I'm optimistic."

 

So why should the fans share his optimism? He broke it down this way: New quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, a draft that he expects to bear fruit immediately, and a better player relationship with Eric Mangini in the coach's second season.

 

"First, I think the quarterback situation is much more solid and that improves a team immediately," Holmgren said. "By how much? We don't know. But it's solid. I know -- I know -- we're in a better spot at that position than last year.

 

"The second thing, there are two or three of our rookies [who] are going to make a great contribution right away. They're on the ground floor of a rebuilding program and they're going to have the opportunity. The [defensive] secondary, which is a really important spot, we're better there.

 

"Lastly, I think with the players having been through a year with Eric ... you know, he's a tough coach, but he's smart and he knows what he wants. And it's been my observation that they kind of understand him now. The fact they finished and won their four last games after that horrendous start, that told me they didn't quit. The relationship, the chemistry, in my observation, is a lot better. And I talked to a lot of [players]."

 

The Browns open training camp at their team headquarters in Berea on July 31.

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i was wondering what holmgren had to say in regards to the lebron situation. football season can't get here quick enough. i also found holmgren's comment about the 2 or 3 rookies who he thinks will make a great contribution right away interesting. my guess is hardesty, ward and haden/mitchell. nice to see that he thinks mangini has a better relationship with his players and that they understand what he wants from them.

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I am so pumped to have Holmgren in our organization. The guy just GETS it. He feels for us fans and he makes it perfectly clear that he understands the hell we have been through the last 10 years. I have never been so excited for training camp to start. GOOOO BROWNIES

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I am so pumped to have Holmgren in our organization. The guy just GETS it. He feels for us fans and he makes it perfectly clear that he understands the hell we have been through the last 10 years. I have never been so excited for training camp to start. GOOOO BROWNIES

 

agreed and good post. dude, i'm so anxious to see the growth and devlopment of this team under a football guru like holmgren. just think back to the morons that we had in his position before he was hired. what a joke those guys were!

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agreed and good post. dude, i'm so anxious to see the growth and devlopment of this team under a football guru like holmgren. just think back to the morons that we had in his position before he was hired. what a joke those guys were!

I just want to be able to tell people I'm a Browns fan without them reminding me how bad the team has been.

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I wonder how long LeBron's sense of entitlement would last in the current Browns' lockerroom.

 

Can you imagine him trying to talk Holmgren and Mangini into changing practice and departure times, etc. so it would fit into HIS schedule?

 

Which is what I am talking about when someone like Munch on WKNR constantly spouts the drivel about how Mangini can't handle superstars in his lockerroom. That's just plain junk. What he won't tolerate in his lockerroom are egos the size of the Goodyear blimp, regardless of talent. I am sure Mangini would turn down the chance to have someone like Peyton Manning or Larry Fitzgerald, right Munch?

 

Anyway, listening to Holmgren after the LeBron fiasco is very refreshing. He gets it. Unfortunately, LeBron never did.

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I wonder how long LeBron's sense of entitlement would last in the current Browns' lockerroom.

 

Can you imagine him trying to talk Holmgren and Mangini into changing practice and departure times, etc. so it would fit into HIS schedule?

 

Which is what I am talking about when someone like Munch on WKNR constantly spouts the drivel about how Mangini can't handle superstars in his lockerroom. That's just plain junk. What he won't tolerate in his lockerroom are egos the size of the Goodyear blimp, regardless of talent. I am sure Mangini would turn down the chance to have someone like Peyton Manning or Larry Fitzgerald, right Munch?

 

Anyway, listening to Holmgren after the LeBron fiasco is very refreshing. He gets it. Unfortunately, LeBron never did.

 

very good points, nw. you can see why gilbert was so upset with lebron's "decision" and why he was upset with himself for doing so much for that ungrateful letraitor. and yes, holmgren definitely gets it.

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I just want to be able to tell people I'm a Browns fan without them reminding me how bad the team has been.

 

ditto

 

 

We do have bragging rights over pittsburgh since our last game so that gives us something to hang our hat on, not to mention the Browns finished the strongest than any other NFL team in the 2009 season.

 

Great expectations are ahead.

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We shouldn't give up completely on the Cavs, they might surprise everyone next year.

 

No they are going to suck haha sad but true, I just hope the fans can come back better than ever. Even the worst team can do amazing things when they have the fans behind them and drive to win. Remember the last 4 games of the Browns season? that was heart. Something the Lebron era teams lacked, if your "leader" doesn't care why should you? just give it all you got Cavs, rock the wine and gold and rock the Q!

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ditto

 

 

We do have bragging rights over pittsburgh since our last game so that gives us something to hang our hat on, not to mention the Browns finished the strongest than any other NFL team in the 2009 season.

 

Great expectations are ahead.

The Steeler fags in my area keep telling me that we played no part in knocking them out of the playoffs and that they were done by mid-season. :rolleyes:

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http://www.ohio.com/sports/98633599.html

 

Cleveland sports fans are looking for an heir to LeBron James' vacant throne, and Browns Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs embraces the idea of becoming their new king.

 

No, Cribbs doesn't want be featured on a mural in downtown Cleveland like James was before he chose to leave the Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. But he doesn't have a problem with becoming the most beloved sports figure in Northeast Ohio, either.

 

''I embrace it because I feel like some of the values I hold strong to myself are the same values that the city should hold strong to itself, and [it does],'' Cribbs said Friday in a phone interview with the Beacon Journal. ''Not being drafted and coming from the bottom to reach the top is something that speaks for itself, and I think that's what Cleveland is. . . . It's one of the most loved cities and one of the most hard-working cities.''

 

The first stop along Cribbs' unofficial campaign trail to become the face of Cleveland sports will be the home of the Cavaliers and James' old stomping grounds. Cribbs is scheduled to sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. today when the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League host ''Cleveland Pride Night'' before their game against the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz at Quicken Loans Arena.

 

The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a poster featuring Cribbs and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, who's also scheduled to appear along with several other local celebrities.

 

''People are always gonna love Bernie,'' Gladiators General Manager John Adams said. ''But as far as people who are playing right now, it's football season coming up, Josh is from this area, he's a Pro Bowler, so he's kind of an obvious choice [as a fan favorite]. He's a great guy, and the people in this city love him.''

 

Since James' infamous decision, sports talk radio and Web sites have been buzzing about Cribbs, a Kent State University graduate, supplanting James as the area's most popular athlete. Cribbs even took part in the conversation this past week via Twitter, when he posted a doctored picture of himself adorning the Landmark Office Tower, where a gigantic Nike banner of James hung for years across the street from the arena.

 

''I'm hurt. I would have loved to see [James] still be in a Cavaliers uniform and still root for him while he's at the Q,'' Cribbs said. ''But I wish him the best.''

 

Although Cribbs concedes he was entertained by the picture on Twitter, he has other ideas for replacement murals.

 

''It should be something that signifies the city altogether,'' Cribbs said. ''Some people even on Twitter have said, 'We don't need a poster.' But most people were feeling like they did because it feels like a void is there. But I think it should be something that unites the city, [a sign that reads] 'Believeland' or something like that, or a collective collage of all the sports or all the blue-collar people in Cleveland pulling together to reach one goal.''

 

As for the Browns and their goals as they prepare for the first full-squad practice of training camp on July 31, Cribbs said he and his teammates want to provide their fans with comfort by improving upon the team's 5-11 record from last season. After all, Cribbs still believes he owes Browns fans for their support during his tumultuous contract negotiations that ultimately resulted in a restructured deal.

 

''I think we can rally around that idea [of lifting the fans' spirits] and rally around our win streak that we went on last year,'' said Cribbs, who also plays receiver and, on occasion, quarterback in the WildDawg formation. ''Coming off the end of the season last year with a four-game win streak, that will give us momentum going into this season as well as the city thirsting for wins.

 

''I think we can rally off a compilation of things. It's time for us to win, especially with [browns President Mike] Holmgren coming in and [coach Eric] Mangini putting his [mark on the team]. I think it's a very good opportunity for us to grab hold of.''

 

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http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/browns/2010/07...out-josh-cribbs

 

I interviewed Browns Pro Bowl return man Josh Cribbs over the phone Friday afternoon while he was on his way to the set of "Jim Rome is Burning" in Los Angeles.

 

The bulk of our conversation, and what ultimately led to this story, was about LeBron James leaving town and Cribbs' pride in becoming who many consider the new face of Cleveland sports.

 

Anyway, here are some parts of the interview that didn't make the cut for the story:

 

On participating in "Cleveland Pride Night" Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena: "The people of Cleveland are die-hard fans and hard-working people, and they represent something. I can only pride myself in giving back to the fans as much as possible. That's why I sign autographs for everybody. You never see me turn nobody down because the fans ultimately pay our salary.’’

 

More on what should replace the empty space where the LeBron James mural that once hung on a building in downtown Cleveland: "Something that just says no matter what we go through, we're gonna still stand. We're gonna still be here. We're gonna still go out to win. And something that signifies that the fans will never give up, a picture or a word or something that basically gives the fans hope, something to cheer for, something to look forward to."

 

On recently dabbling in acting: "I definitely welcome all opportunities, and you have to always look ahead. Football isn't forever. The NFL to us, the athletes, doesn't last long. It's a very short time period for us to grab a hold of our small celebrity and to make the most of it. Definitely (acting more in the future is) a possibility. I had fun doing it, and football has opened up those doors for me. It's opened up the opportunities for me to have that chance."

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I just want to be able to tell people I'm a Browns fan without them reminding me how bad the team has been.

 

We could win 10 superbowls in a row and people would still make fun of the Browns.

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The Steeler fags in my area keep telling me that we played no part in knocking them out of the playoffs and that they were done by mid-season. :rolleyes:

 

 

I like how for weeks afterwards you didn't see one Steelers jersey, hat or any attire. It was kind of nice actually.

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We could win 10 superbowls in a row and people would still make fun of the Browns.

 

 

 

 

See I don't really think so, considering our rich history, and due to the fact that there are Browns Backers clubs all over the world. Yes of late we've been down, but that is all about to change! Good times are coming

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