Browns introduce Mangini

The Baltimore Sun

Introduced as the Cleveland Browns' coach yesterday, Eric Mangini stepped to the podium and his football life flashed before him.

This is where it all began.

"I feel like I should be getting some coffee or picking up some towels or something," the former Browns ballboy joked.

Mangini, fired by the New York Jets after their season finished with a December nose dive, took over the rebuilding Browns, completing a personal and professional career circle that started with him running errands in the early 1990s as an underling for then-Cleveland coach Bill Belichick.

Mangini, 37, now has his dream job, the one he had a tough time convincing his mom was remotely possible when he came to Cleveland 14 years ago.

"I was a 23-year-old ballboy, and I had to explain that to my mother," said Mangini, who signed a four-year contract. "I had student loans, and it was a hard sell. I kept telling her: 'Mom, this is the Cleveland Browns. Do you understand? The Cleveland Browns.' "

Mangini is inheriting a team with talent, but one that went 4-12 and didn't score an offensive touchdown in its final six games under previous coach Romeo Crennel.

Browns owner Randy Lerner is still looking for a general manager to replace Phil Savage, fired last month.

George Kokinis, the Ravens' director of pro personnel and a friend of Mangini's, is a candidate.

Jets:: Brett Favre will take his time before deciding whether to return to the team next season.

The quarterback, 39, told ESPN he's following the advice of GM Mike Tannenbaum by not making a hasty decision on his future.

"He said he's not going to bother me for three or four weeks," Favre said. "He told me to do whatever, and he'd give me a call in a month."

Titans:: The team rested starting linebacker David Thornton (hip) at practice, its final full workout before tomorrow's AFC divisional playoff game against the Ravens. Thornton is still expected to play.

Et cetera:: Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin said he won't give his injured hamstring a serious test until just before kickoff of the team's NFC divisional playoff game against the Panthers tomorrow night. ... Broncos owner Pat Bowlen wrapped up his first round of interviews for the team's head coaching vacancy when he met with a seventh candidate, Dolphins secondary coach Todd Bowles.

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