"In terms of Holmgren, we had a productive visit over a couple days," Bill Bonsiewicz said Thursday morning before the press conference of Coach Eric Mangini began. "He left yesterday. We agreed to communicate in the coming days. We're not getting into specifics of what was discussed. The one thing we did not discuss to this point was money."
The announcement by the team's vice president of communications was the first time anyone in the Browns' front office other than Mangini talked about Holmgren's visit to Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday. And when Mangini was asked questions the answers he gave were geared more toward how a football czar would affect his future and what he thought of Holmgren.
Bonsiewicz revealing money was not discussed despite the presence of Holmgren's agent, Bob LaMonte, seems to put a damper on reports Holmgren could be hired any day. Before the Browns could hire Holmgren or anyone else on their short list they must interview a minority candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule.
"We're aware of the Rooney Rule and have been in contact with the league office about it," Bonsiewicz said.
In a twist that affects the Browns indirectly, Vinny Cerrato resigned Thursday as executive vice president of football operations. His replacement has already been hired -- former Buccaneers and Raiders general manager Bruce Allen. The Redskins reportedly interviewed two unnamed minority candidates before latching onto Allen.
The swift action in Washington means two things -- a job opening Holmgren might have been interested in is filled and Allen is off the market for the job of football czar for the Browns.
If Seattle's interest in Holmgren is lukewarm, as it appears to be, Holmgren's only options could be to work for the Browns or sit out 2010 and wait for another opening next year.
Players are intrigued about the possibility of Holmgren settling into the Browns' front office. Holmgren coached the Packers and Seahawks for a combined 17 years, made the playoffs 12 years, went to the Super Bowl three times and won it once. He was general manager of the Seahawks as well as coach from 1999-2002. He was relieved of his GM duties after the 2002 season and continued coaching through 2008.
"I think he's a good man," said guard Floyd Womack, who played for Holmgren for eight years in Seattle. "He's been around this league a while. He's good at what he does."
Left tackle Joe Thomas has an indirect connection with Holmgren. Thomas grew up in Wisconsin and was 7 years old when Holmgren was made coach of the Packers in 1992. He was 14 when Holmgren left Green Bay for a bigger challenge and more power in Seattle after taking the Packers to the Super Bowl twice.
"He won one Super Bowl and went to two others," Thomas said. "You're going to be pretty well respected. They even named a street after him."