Holmgren optimistic Browns can revive post-LeBron Cleveland

It’s not going to take much from the Cleveland Browns to capture the attention of the region.

Not after LeBron James burned rubber while speeding out of town following his ill-conceived televised free-agent announcement.

New Browns president Mike Holmgren is confident the team is going to be in position to do just that. The Browns, of course, have been largely awful since their reincarnation in 1999. They’ve been particularly lousy of late but it looks like the franchise is moving in the right direction with the appointment of Holmgren and the moves he’s made in rebuilding the organization. In a wide-ranging interview with Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Holmgren says Cleveland’s loss of James just provides a little more impetus for the Browns.

“It kind of juices you up a little bit,” Holmgren told Grossi. “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.”

“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. 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 has beefed up the sales office and the Browns are being aggressive in marketing the team as they try to sell a winner that hasn’t yet arrived to long-suffering fans.

“Our plan is our plan,” Holmgren said. “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."

The revival of the Browns, at least for this season, is going to hinge a lot on the performance of Jake Delhomme, a quarterback who’s looked washed up for more than a season. Hey, someone has to have some optimism on the shores of Lake Erie, right?

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