- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cleveland Browns may have finally found their leader.

Former Seattle and Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren, with one Super Bowl title and success brimming from his NFL resume, spent his second day meeting with Browns owner Randy Lerner about running the team’s football operations.

However, as of Tuesday evening there was no indication of a deal.

In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Lerner suggested the sides were still talking but gave no specifics.

Holmgren arrived Monday after being invited by Lerner, who wants to hire a proven executive to take over his team. The two met and had dinner with associates. Holmgren was back at the team’s facility in Berea, Ohio, on Tuesday along with agent Bob LaMonte.

The length of Holmgren’s stay - and LaMonte’s inclusion - points to his strong interest in taking over the Browns, who have struggled since returning to the league as an expansion team in 1999. Cleveland has had four coaches, just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance in 11 years.

Browns coach Eric Mangini, whose future could hinge on whom the Browns hire, told WTAM he met with Holmgren.

“I have a ton of respect for Mike, and we’ll see where it goes,” Mangini told the club’s flagship radio station. “They are still in the early stages, and everyone is getting to know each other.”

VIKINGS: Former Maryland linebacker Erin Henderson was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The suspension covers Minnesota’s final three regular-season games and first playoff game. The NFL does not specify the substances for which players test positive.

A message was left seeking comment from Henderson’s agent, Brian Mackler.

Henderson is the younger brother of fellow linebacker E.J. Henderson, who broke his left leg Dec. 6 and is out indefinitely.

CARDINALS: All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a bruised bone and a sprained right knee, leaving his status uncertain for Arizona’s game Sunday at Detroit.

The Cardinals said an MRI determined the extent of the injury but showed no more significant damage.

Fitzgerald was hurt on the third play of the third quarter of Monday night’s game at San Francisco when the 49ers’ Dashon Goldson landed on his leg on a deep pass attempt. Fitzgerald was helped off the field, then went to the locker room. He returned to the game with 3:23 to play.

FALCONS: Embattled defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux was smoking marijuana as he and a friend were driving through the northeast Atlanta suburbs, according to a police report.

The Gwinnett County police report says Babineaux told a police officer he had not smoked marijuana in more than a year, but then he admitted smoking from a marijuana blunt at least once during the drive on a busy interstate highway.

STEELERS: Left guard Chris Kemoeatu will sit out Sunday’s game against Green Bay with right wrist and right knee injuries.

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