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Holmgren rips Browns for Richardson trade, says he would have quit

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The outrage surrounding the Trent Richardson trade -- Cleveland sent him to Indy for a first-round pick -- has been strong. Go ahead and add Mike Holmgren to the list of people who don't like it.

Holmgren, who actually drafted Richardson No. 3 overall in 2012, said if he was coaching the Browns they would've had to "fire me" after the deal they made.

"I struggled with it," Holmgren said on Sports Radio KJR via Cleveland.com. "Philosophically, if I am the coach and someone came in anywhere and did that, I'd say 'OK, fire me, or I'm going to quit. Or we're going to both go into the owner and talk about this and the we'll see who's still standing."

There's some obvious bias here, of course. Holmgren loves Richardson. He made him the Browns top-overall pick out of Alabama two years ago. He believes Richardson is too "valuable" and that the Browns aren't improving their team for 2013 by moving him to the Colts.

"How do you make your team better by trading your best player?" he said. "He's the best offensive player. He's a valuable, valuable guy."

In fact, Holmgren's beef appears to be the same thing Browns fans have been screaming about for 48 hours: he thinks trading Richardson amounts to tanking.

"To me, they're putting all their eggs for next season," Holmgren said. "They started off 0-2, they couldn't score any points, I think it was a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction. There's a little bit of a 'what's going on?' I don't know this for sure but I can sense it."

But what about the pick coming back? Well, Holmgren makes an interesting point on that. He believes the Colts selection will be somewhere in the 23 or 24 range (I'm dubious it's that high, but we'll see) and notes that to move up and get a quarterback is a pretty tough thing to do.

"Indianapolis is probably going to have a pretty good year, so that pick is probably going to be 23, 24, right in there," Holmgren said. "And to package something [to move up in the draft], we couldn't package our 4 and our 7 for [Robert Griffin III] last year and we had more ammunition."

Well, the Browns could have packaged enough to move up and get RG3. The Rams ended up doing a deal with the Redskins who gave up three first-round picks. Cleveland wasn't willing to get in on that, but they had their shot. (And would you trade Richardson, Barkevious Mingo and a first-round pick for RG3? Last year you wouldn't have hesitated.)

It's irrelevant now because Richardson is gone. The only thing is to wait and see how the new-look Colts fare. I'm willing to bet that a lot of the judgment on this deal will revolve around where Indy's pick lands in the first round come 2014.

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