‘Mangenius' Lands on His Feet – Cleveland

Hartford native Eric Mangini gets Cleveland Browns head coaching job, a source said

From a Browns ball boy to their head coach - the football career of Eric Mangini, 37, has already come full circle.

The Hartford native who was fired last week by the New York Jets will be named Cleveland's 12th full-time coach on Thursday, a person with knowledge of his hiring told The Associated Press.

Mangini started out as a ball boy with the Browns in 1994 under then-coach Bill Belichick, who liked the Hartford kid's work ethic and quickly promoted him to a public relations assistant before adding him to the scouting department. Now Mangini's taking over the job of one of his best friends in the game, fired Browns coach Romeo Crennel.

Mangini went 23-25 with one playoff loss in three seasons with the Jets, who started 8-3 this season but lost four of their last five games and missed the playoffs.

Rejected a few days earlier by his first choice, former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, Browns owner Lerner's eyes lit up when he learned Mangini was available. He wasted no time in going after him and interviewed Mangini the following night in the New York area. Lerner tabbed Mangini as his leading candidate from the outset.

Despite the Jets' meltdown, Lerner, who is also looking for a new general manager, was enamored with Mangini's potential and believed he would bring discipline to the underachieving Browns, who went 4-12 during a disastrous season marked by injuries, ugly losses and a 1-7 home record. Lerner believed Mangini learned from his mistakes in New York.

During his interview, Mangini mentioned Baltimore player personnel director George Kokinis, a longtime friend and Wethersfield native, as his preference as GM. Kokinis is expected to interview with Lerner on Sunday.

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