The Cleveland Browns finally may have 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 about running the team's football operations.

However, as of yesterday evening there was no indication of a deal.

In an e-mail to the Associated Press, 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.

Browns coach Eric Mangini, whose future could hinge on whom the Browns hire, told WTAM that he met with Holmgren.

"I have a ton of respect for Mike, and we'll see where it goes," Mangini told the club's flagship radio station. "They are still in the early stages and everyone is getting to know each other."

ESPN reported that Holmgren is hoping to have things wrapped up by Christmas.


* The NFL announced that Minnesota backup linebacker Erin Henderson has been suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

* Carolina placed right tackle Jeff Otah, who injured his knee in Sunday's loss to New England, on injured reserve and signed offensive lineman Rob Petitti.

* St. Louis released Richie Incognito 2 days after after coach Steve Spagnuolo benched the temperamental offensive guard for the second half of a loss at Tennessee. A team spokesman said Spagnuolo would have more to say about the move today.

* Washington running back Clinton Portis said he's confident he will return from the season-ending concussion he suffered against Atlanta on Nov. 8.

In other Redskins news, the NFL determined it "cannot conclude" that the team committed a tampering violation before signing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last offseason.

Haynesworth's former team, the Tennessee Titans, had sent information to the NFL indicating the Redskins might have contacted Haynesworth and his agent, Chad Speck, before free agency began Feb. 27.

* Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware said his sprained neck felt "100 percent better" but he did not practice and will have more tests before the team decides whether he will be available to face unbeaten New Orleans on Saturday night.

* Dallas seems to be pressuring Nick Folk, who has missed a field goal in five straight games. The Cowboys had kickoff specialist David Buehler share field-goal attempts during practice, suggesting the job is up for grabs and Buehler said, "I'm going to push him and compete."

* A police report said Atlanta defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux was smoking marijuana as he and a friend drove through the northeast Atlanta suburbs. Babineaux was arrested by Gwinnett County police last week and charged with felony possession of marijuana. Babineaux's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Falcons had no immediate comment.