Thursday, October 23, 2008
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Mike Holmgren tries to defuse rumors about 49ers

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[October 23, 2008]  RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- So much for Mike Holmgren's quiet motorcycle ride into that self-described "sabbatical" next year.

The exiting coach of the skidding Seattle Seahawks had a chance on Wednesday to slam the door on rumors he is a prime candidate to take over his hometown San Francisco 49ers in 2009.

Instead, he left it partially open.

"When I was at Lincoln High School, and for years, that was my dream job. And it never quite came to fruition," Holmgren said to members of the San Francisco media in a conference call. "But times change and right now, I think it's been stated ... for the 27th time: the plan for me and Kath (wife Kathy) is to take a year off after this time in Seattle. We've been here 10 years, and we love it here, and that's the plan.

"While I'm flattered -- we have a lot of friends in the Bay Area -- that's the plan right now."

San Francisco and Seattle are abuzz with rumors Holmgren is the prime candidate to lead the 49ers next season. San Francisco (2-5) fired coach Mike Nolan this week and replaced him with Mike Singletary on an interim basis, beginning Sunday against the last-place Seahawks (1-5).

When he agreed to come back for his 10th and final season in Seattle in January, Holmgren promised his longtime wife he would spend at least 2009 away from football to spend time with a family that includes six grandchildren, and ride his motorcycle.


"All the things that I haven't been able to do for the last 40 years or so," said Holmgren, who is tied with Joe Gibbs for 10th all-time with 171 victories.

When talking to Seattle's media earlier Wednesday, Holmgren sounded disappointed to be asked about whether the 49ers job would cause him to reconsider his future.

"You are really going to ask this ... Right now, the plan is to stay with the plan I told you: We're going to take the year off, find out a little bit about myself. And that's the plan right now," Holmgren said.

Of course, when he hatched this plan with his wife in January, he never imagined losing starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, still out indefinitely with knee and back issues, and seven wide receivers to injuries.

He never dreamed his four-time defending division champions would be at the bottom of the NFC West two months into the season.

And he never fathomed his former "dream job" will apparently be available just as he becomes free from his obligations in Seattle.

When asked if his wife would allow him to skip that promised sabbatical should the perfect football situation arise next year, Holmgren said: "You know what, right now she is doing foot care at (Seattle's) Pike Street clinic for the homeless. I am not going to burden her with that right now.

"It is something we spoke about prior to the season, I'll stick with what I said and I would rather not deal in hypotheticals right now. One, Mike Nolan is an acquaintance and a friend of mine, and I feel bad for him. Two, we are going to go down and play the 49ers, and the important thing is the game with the 49ers. I'd rather not. Let's hold off on all that stuff right now, OK?"

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Holmgren was a prep athlete of the year at San Francisco's Lincoln High School in 1965. He was high school coach and history teacher in the city during the early 1970s. In 1986, Bill Walsh brought him into the NFL out of BYU to be his quarterbacks coach with the 49ers. He is building a new, second home in Santa Cruz, Calif., south of the Bay Area.

Scot McCloughan, the 49ers' general manager, was the Seahawks' director of college scouting before moving to San Francisco. Holmgren said he has a "good relationship" with "Scotty ... or Scot, I should say now."

Yet he didn't want to dwell on any of that Wednesday.

"Look it, this is my home. Seattle is my home. This is my team," Holmgren said of the Seahawks, who will become coach Jim Mora's team in a few months. "Right now, we've got to figure out how to win a game here for the Seattle Seahawks. Then all the rest of this stuff is ... speculation.

"Things in this crazy business change on a day-to-day basis."

[Associated Press; By GREGG BELL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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