Holmgren decides he wants to coach beyond 2006, Seattle close to obliging

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) – Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren wants to coach beyond next season, and it appears Seattle would like him to stay.

“I would like to (coach again),” an upbeat and relaxed Holmgren said after Seattle’s final practice of a veteran minicamp Thursday. “And I think they want me to. So, we’ll see … I think they like me OK.”

Holmgren’s agent, Bob LaMonte, left Seattle after two days of discussions with Seahawks executives this week on a contract extension. Holmgren’s current contract ends after the 2006 season.

Those were the first contract talks since Holmgren said in late March that he was “thinking about what I want to do, honestly … I wanted us to win the Super Bowl and ride off on a white horse.”

Holmgren, who turns 58 next month, has four daughters and four granddaughters. Six weeks ago, he talked of spending more time with them, his wife Kathy – and with another passion, riding his motorcycles across the desert roads near one of his homes, in Arizona.

Thursday was the first time he has said he wants to continue beyond a 15th season as an NFL head coach.

“They’ve had some talks, and some real good talks,” Holmgren said. “So it’s ongoing, and I’m feeling good about stuff. Nothing’s been finalized yet. So it’s a little premature still.”

Two weeks ago, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell said talks regarding Holmgren’s future were going well.

“It’s all good,” Ruskell said.

Holmgren, a San Francisco native and former 49ers offensive coordinator, was Green Bay’s coach from 1992-98. He won a Super Bowl with the Packers after the 1996 season. He signed a $32 million, eight-year contract with Seattle in 99.

“We really do like the area. I like most of you,” he joked to reporters. “So we really would like to hang around.”

When asked if he wanted to also be a general manager again, a dual job he had in his first four seasons in Seattle, Holmgren paused before saying, “Why don’t we deal with this down the road a little bit?

“Anytime I comment on that, one way or the other, somehow something’s happened that I can’t control,” he said, chuckling. “Let me deal with that at another time.”

Holmgren has repeatedly said in recent months he doesn’t want his future to become a distraction to his team.

According to Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, it hasn’t.

“I don’t think we get any part of that. Do we get a percentage of that?” Hasselbeck jokingly asked, referring to Holmgren’s potential new money. “Then it doesn’t matter.

“It’s not something that we’re too focused on.”

Holmgren explained the indecision he had about his future in the aftermath of a gnawing Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh in February.

“Look it, at the end of every season I’m kind of drained a little bit,” he said. “So they gave me some time.

“It takes a little time, that’s all.”

AP-ES-05-11-06 1710EDT

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