Holmgren preparing for second return to Green Bay

Updated: October 2, 2003, 10:39 AM ET
ESPN

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- This trip back to Green Bay should be a little easier for Mike Holmgren.

He expects his Seattle Seahawks to be focused, since a victory would give them their first 4-0 season start. And it's been five seasons since Holmgren jumped to Seattle after taking the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one.

"Time and distance, if you will, that changes emotions," Holmgren said Wednesday.

Holmgren coached the Packers from 1992-98, then took over as coach and general manager of the Seahawks in 1999. That season, his first return trip to Green Bay resulted in a 27-7 Seattle victory.

He remembered that game as surreal. It was driven by an exceptional buildup and Holmgren was welcomed back like a hero. He's got a street named for him near Lambeau Field, after all.

"It was very different from any other pregame I've ever had before," he recalled. "You could hardly walk because of all the people. It was a Monday night game. But that happened, and now it's four or five years later. I wouldn't expect that it will be the same."

That's not to say the place isn't special to Holmgren. He listed Lambeau Field along with Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and the old Boston Garden as some of the most revered sites in professional sports.

Holmgren's days in Green Bay were among the most successful runs in NFL history, too. He won 67 percent of his regular season games and set a franchise record by taking the Packers to six consecutive postseasons.

"It is a special place and it will always be a special place for me and my family," Holmgren said. "It's just a great football environment. You get excited about playing in places like that."

Then there are the deep personal ties.

Packers coach Mike Sherman was one of Holmgren's assistants. And while there are plenty of those men now employed as head coaches around the league, Sherman also worked under Holmgren in Seattle.

"Mike's an outstanding coach," Holmgren said. "He's done a great job there. He did a great job for us here. I don't think there's anything extra that goes into the game because he worked here, other than we know each other well."

Holmgren won't be the only one on the team charter with Green Bay ties. Seahawks offensive coordinator Gil Haskell coached running backs and receivers in Green Bay, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was a backup to Brett Favre.

Then there's defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes, who coached the Packers for one season after Holmgren left. Holmgren said he doesn't discuss many non-football matters with Rhodes, but he believes this is a special week for him, too.

"His time there was too short," Holmgren said. "He didn't have enough time. I don't know the reasons. I'm just glad he's with us now."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index