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Cleveland Browns

Browns' four horsemen look impressive

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 12, 2010

New Browns' president Mike Holmgren was surrounded by his right-hand men Tuesday -- coach Eric Mangini, general manager Tom Heckert and executive VP of business operations Bryan Wiedmeier -- and Holmgren seemed thrilled by the lineup.

''The decisions this organization makes going forward will be handled by these fellas right here,'' Holmgren said. ''I trust them. I believe in them. They're good football people. Responsibilities will be defined.

''If we make a decision releasing a player, whatever it happens to be, that decision is not a Mike Holmgren decision, an Eric Mangini decision, a Tom Heckert decision, it's a Cleveland Browns decision. That's how we're going to do business from now on. Hopefully then we make enough good decisions to get it going in the right direction.''

Holmgren wouldn't agree with ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who once described the Browns as a ''dysfunctional'' organization. But Holmgren said he will analyze the current staff to find people ''who will buy into our vision.''

''I don't want to lose good people,'' Holmgren said. ''My job is to make sure everyone's thinking the same way. Was it dysfunctional? I won't say that. Do we have to improve? Absolutely, absolutely. That's what our job is.''

Holmgren told a story from when he came to Green Bay in 1992 and the Packers hadn't been a playoff contender since the Vince Lombardi era ended 25 years before. No coach in that span had lasted more than four years other than Bart Starr.

''The controller of the company gave me my first cell phone and said, 'Listen, when you get fired, give this cell phone back,''' Holmgren said. ''I had been there three days, but that was kind of the thinking with a lot of people. The challenge for me and (general manager) Ron Wolf at the time was to flip that thinking.''

Holmgren said he tried to hire Wiedmeier away from the Miami Dolphins five years ago when he was in Seattle. He said he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to pry Heckert away from close friend Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

''Even though I promised Kathy I took this last year off, when she was going shopping I was making my lists,'' Holmgren said. ''These fellas clearly were at the top of that list. Hope springs eternal and here we did it.

''That's why I'm so excited about this. These are really quality men who are good at their jobs. Now we just move forward.''

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