Holmgren: Green Bay will always be 'special'

Mike Holmgren left Green Bay for Seattle in 1999 after guiding the Packers to a 75-37 (.670) regular season record, a 9-5 (.643) postseason mark, and two Super Bowl appearances, including a win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.<p>

From 1995-98, Holmgren's Packers had an NFL-best 48-16 (.762) record, finished first in the NFC Central Division three times, second once and had a 7-3 mark in the playoffs. He took the Packers to the playoffs six straight seasons, a team record, after the Packers had just two winning seasons in the 19 years before he was hired.

Holmgren fielded questions on a variety of topics from the Green Bay media on Wednesday as his team prepares to meet the Packers Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Q: On how his job has changed this year now that he is not the Seahawks' general manager:

MH: "We hired Bob Ferguson from Arizona (Cardinals) as our general manager. My life hasn't changed dramatically. I still worry about the same things I've worried about before. As far as players and the football itself, things haven't changed all that much. I don't have to go in and attend a couple of the meetings, which I didn't like (laughs) and that's a good thing. It frees up my day just a little bit to do some things with regard to dealing with the players and the football team.

"Honestly, my life has not changed all that much. I still rely heavily on Ted Thompson, who is our director of football operations. Mike Reinfeldt (Senior VP). We have another voice and a football man in the organization in Bob Ferguson. But we're off to a good start. I'd be better prepared to answer that question at the end of the season."

Q: On if the buck still stops at his desk:

MH: "Yeah, it does. It does. I'm not operating any differently than I did before. While I may appear to be this horrible dictator, I'm not. I do value the opinion of the bright people we have in the organization. But at some point somebody has to make a decision. I do listen to their opinion and I value their judgment, and then we make the call. This year, more than the decision making, we're not injured. You get your players on the field, it makes all the di fference in the world."

Q: On his emotions leading up to Sunday's game compared to 1999 when he returned for the first time:

MH: "I'm very excited about coming back. I'm very anxious to see Lambeau Field and the new structures and everything that has been done there. For years I've wanted a window in my office and I could never get it. I understand Mike Sherman's in the penthouse overlooking Oneida (Street). I wish there was a way I could sneak up in there and look out the window one time.

"Green Bay will always be a special place for my family. That will never change. When you get a chance to go in there and really play at Lambeau and compete against a really good football team, like they have, that team will always be special to me."

Q: On what he knew of Mike Sherman when he hired him as an assistant in 1997:

MH: "I didn't know him as well as some people on our staff knew him. They had worked with him at Texas A&M. Obviously he came with wonderful credentials. When I hired him we got to be very close. We worked together. Of course, he was my first offensive coordinator here at Seattle. He's a tireless worker. He's got tremendous work ethic. He's very, very bright. He desperately wants to win. He's a winner. "Forget the football stuff for a second, I was always impressed with Mike as a father, a husband. A great family guy. There's a lot of stuff to like about Mike Sherman."

Q: On the Packers' 2-2 start:

MH: "I kind of chuckle when people are written off this early in the seas on or when they're anointed this early in the season. It's too early. It is a marathon, not a sprint. ... All I know is what I see on film, and I see a good football team that's well coached. If we expect to win the football game, we have to be just about perfect."

Read more of Holmgren's comments in the upcoming Oct. 12 issue of Packer Report.

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