The man who led the Packers to two Super Bowls faces the usual emotions of returning to the town he put back on the NFL map, as well as the site of one of his toughest losses as Seahawks coach in last year's playoffs. This time he packs some aggravation from the West Coast along on his homecoming trip.
Holmgren had been lauded in the Seattle press for his mellow approach in the opening week of Seahawks training camp in Cheney, Wash. The "new" Holmgren lasted only about 10 days. The coach Packer fans knew and loved as a disciplinarian who speaks his mind re-emerged Thursday - in a big way.
When a two-minute drill went awry at Seahawks practice, Holmgren had had enough. According to the Seattle Times, Holmgren cursed and screamed at his ineffective defense. A hush fell over the players and spectators, but not over the coach himself. The tirade continued as did the drills. Not even the scheduled end of practice quieted the coach.
When the memorable session was over, Holmgren reportedly didn't let the players leave. According to the Times, he lined them up on one sideline and had them run across the field twice - 53 1/2 yards each way. If any group failed to meet the time limit - 42 seconds for most players, 45 seconds for defensive linemen - the exercise would be repeated.
I can put up with a mistake here and there and a physical error, but we didn't do that (two-minute) drill very well, and they just had to know I didn't like it," Holmgren said. "We were practicing certain situations, and it was more they were trying really hard but we were not practicing very smart," Holmgren told reporters afterward. "That one's a tough one for me to swallow."
During his Green Bay tenure, no one was exempt from Holmgren's heat. From the legendary Brett Favre to the forgettable Chris Akins, players from all over the depth chart were held to the same standards. The same holds true in Seattle, where stars and scrubs alike hit the turf for the running drills conducted in 90 degree heat.
While players probably didn't enjoy the extra mileage, no one was about to tell that to the coach. Running back Shaun Alexander acknowledged that Holmgren was just trying to push them to be better and more excited about the task at hand.
"I want to impress upon them that we have to be a smart football team this year," he told reporters.
Ask any Seahawk, and they'll probaby have the same reply: Message received.