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 yesterday about running the team's football operations.
As of last night there was no indication of a deal.
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, yesterday 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.
Backup 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.
Carolina placed right tackle Jeff Otah of Pitt on injured reserve and signed offensive lineman Rob Petitti, also of Pitt. Otah hurt his knee Sunday against New England and becomes the 10th player to be lost for the season.
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 Monday night at San Francisco.
Richie Incognito was released by St. Louis, two days after coach Steve Spagnuolo benched the temperamental offensive guard for the second half of a loss at Tennessee.
Running back Clinton Portis is confident he will return from the concussion that ended his season early. He appeared at a charity event yesterday and was asked about remarks he made last week, when he sounded as if he could be contemplating the end of his career.
Portis replied: "I don't think for one second this could be career ending."
Also, the NFL determined it "cannot conclude" that the Redskins committed a tampering violation before signing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last year.
Coach Mike Singletary challenged his team to come together and play their best football on the big stage Monday night. He asked his players to be aggressive and physical, to create turnovers and wreak havoc on quarterback Kurt Warner. The 49ers (6-7) forced seven turnovers in a dominant 24-9 victory against Arizona (8-5), keeping their slim playoff chances alive.