Players keep Holmgren busy

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:04 AM ET

Mike Holmgren should be spending his energy working on a game plan for the weekend, not soothing egos.

But that has been part of the workload for Seattle Seahawks coach as his team prepares to play host to the St. Louis Rams in an NFC wildcard game.

The week started with running back Shaun Alexander claiming he was "stabbed in the back" by Holmgren for losing the NFL rushing title by one yard to Curtis Martin of the New York Jets.

"Honest to goodness, you guys, I suppose this is interesting," Holmgren told the media in Seattle this week. "To me, it wasn't that complicated. No one was intentionally doing anything. Inches? Quarterback sneak. That's it."

Holmgren was referring to the play late in Seattle's game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday when he called for a quarterback sneak by Matt Hasselbeck for the winning touchdown.

Alexander, who is a free agent this off-season, later apologized to fans for his outburst but not to his coach.

Holmgren has also been dogged by what to do with receiver Koren Robinson, who was a late scratch last week for violating a team rule. Robinson returned to practice yesterday but Holmgren was noncommital as to what the receiver's role will be on Saturday.

ERICKSON SACKED

The San Francisco 49ers did the expected after a 2-14 season, firing both coach Dennis Erickson and general manager Terry Donahue.

Owner John York, whose team came off the worst season in club history, told players yesterday. In two seasons since replacing Steve Mariucci, Erickson had a 9-23 record.

NO HEADHUNTER

Denver Broncos safety John Lynch loves to hit, but vows he isn't dirty. Lynch, who was fined $75,000 US for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts fullback Dallas Clark this past Sunday, said he will appeal the punishment.

"Throughout my career I was taught to play hard and I think I have," Lynch said yesterday. "I think my reputation has preceded me in terms of playing hard and playing physically. But I've also taken great pride in playing within the rules."

QUICK KICKS

New York Jets defensive end John Abraham is unsure if he will play in his team's AFC wild-card game against the Chargers. Abraham, who has a sprained knee, is listed as probable on the Jets injury report ... Ravens' director of player personnel Phil Savage accepted an offer to be general manager of the Cleveland Browns, a Browns official told The Associated Press ... The Bengals fired defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier yesterday ... Quebec-raised guard Tom Nutten is doubtful to play for the Rams in their wild-card game after spraining his knee on Sunday.


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