Browns Banter: Mangini Paints Over Browns Legend Mural While We Await Official Word on Kokinis

Browns Banter: Mangini Paints Over Browns Legend MuralCleveland Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini allegedly conspired to deface a depiction of the Browns proud tradition by ordering a mural of Hall of Famers painted over, thus driving a stake through the heart of true Browns fans.

The mural, located inside the team practice facility in Berea, featured Browns members voted into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton including: running backs Jim Brown, Leroy Kelley and Marion Motley; quarterback Otto Graham; and wide receivers Ozzie Newsome, Paul Warfield and” Glue Fingers” Dante Lavelli, who died earlier this week at the age of 85.

As a second-generation Browns fan, I’m glad I was not ordered to smack a paint brush over the face of Jim Brown. I could not have done it.

“I guess Coach Mangini just didn’t like the way the wall looked,” said Patrick McMannamon, beat reporter for the Akron Beacon-Journal, who wrote about the whitewash for On Friday, McMannamon told Tony Rizzo, host of “The Really Big Show”, WKNR AM-850 that he noticed the new paint job earlier this week.

There must be a reasonable explanation, Rizzo opined. (Besides Mangini showing a latent interest in interior decorating, that is.)

A media source close to the Browns organization confirmed it.

Mangini feels the Browns are not living up to its tradition and wants to start anew, the source said.
Since “coming back” in 1999, the Browns have lacked its own unique identity. Browns gear and clothing are embossed with the Brownie sprite logo reminiscent of its heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s, to the Kardiac Kids moniker orchestrated by quarterback Brian Sipe in 1980 to the “Big Dawg” mascot inspired by defensive linebackers such as Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon in the late 1980s to early ‘90s in the Bernie Kosar era.

The solid orange helmet – the only lid in the NFL minus a team logo – has been the most outward symbol of the no-frills, just-football philosophy since the Browns joined the NFL in 1950.
The Browns have struggled with its wardrobe, from the traditional all-white uniforms at home and the brown jerseys away, to the garish orange jerseys and the god-awful skin-tight black pants, abandoned after wearing only once in 2007 after a loss. (It looks as if the Browns donated those black tights to the Baltimore Ravens, who had quite a run in those pants before getting tripped up by Pittsburgh in the AFC cBrowns Owner Randy Lernerhampionship game, Jan. 17.)

Local sportswriters and broadcasters have been critical of Browns owner Randy Lerner for failing to establish a Browns culture from the top down. Lerner, an oft-absent owner who inherited the team from his father, Al Lerner, is a successful businessman with offices in New York and a pad in London to keep his eye on his Aston-Villa futbol club.

Some say Lerner should be in Berea, sleeves rolled up and nose in college rosters. But Lerner is no Jerry Jones. He hires the head coach and general manager – then hands over the reins.

While Mangini has begun to erase the old, he is also setting the stage for a new era under Brady Quinn who holds the fate of Mangini and the Browns in his hands. Let’s hope Quinn will play better than Mangini’s last quarterback for the New York Jets — Brett Farve, who ended a promising season in injury and interceptions.
f not, Mangini could be out of the door, Quinn on the trading block and Browns fans facing yet another cold and grey winter.

Kokinis, MIA?

While the Cleveland media has promised the announcement of George Kokinis as general manager, as of Friday afterGeorge Kokinis - Browns GMnoon no word had come from the Browns. Kokinis, a personal friend of Mangini’s, has already been spotted in Berea, hanging out with Eric at the Browns headquarters, despite still being formally employed by the Baltimore Ratbirds.

After Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in last week’s AFC championship game, (stop gloating, Mr. MNRC), Kokinis wasted little time cleaning out his desk and heading to Cleveland, according to The Plain Dealer’s Tony Gross.

Mangini added five assistants, four of whom were also on the New York Jets staff for three years. The new hires are Bryan Cox (defensive line), Jerome Henderson (defensive backs), Andy Dickerson (defensive quality control) and Rick Lyle (assistant strength and conditioning).

The fifth coach, quarterbacks coach Carl Smith, actually first showed to coach the quarterbacks under former Head Coach Butch Davis from 2001-03. Smith left the Browns in 2004 to join Pete Carroll’s powerhouse at Southern California as quarterbacks coach. The past two seasons Smith was offensive coordinator at Jacksonville.

“These men are outstanding teachers and their energy and expertise will have an immediate impact on our team,” Mangini said in a press release.

Cox, a 12-year NFL linebacker, joined Mangini’s Jets in 2006, while Henderson, who played eight years in the NFL as a defensive back, joined the Jets in 2006 as director of player development, and moved into coaching the following year.

Dickerson began with New England in 2004 and then followed Mangini to the Jets in ’06.

Lyle, one of coach Bill Belichick’s favorite players with three teams (Cleveland, Jets and New England), also followed Mangini to New York in ’06, according to The Plaind Dealer. He doubled as the team’s nutrition coordinator.

These additions raised to eight the number of assistants hired by Mangini. He previously named his coordinators, Brian Daboll (offense), Rob Ryan (defense) and Brad Seely (special teams).

Vacancies remain at linebacker, offensive line, receiver, running back, tight end and perhaps a few more quality control positions.

No word yet whether Mangini has called for more painters.


  1. Much Needed Reality Check says:

    Dante Lavelli passes away, and not three days later Mangini man is painting over his image. Classy!

    Just a glimpse of things to come from Coach Grinchface. Oh what fun it’s going to be to watch this jerk wear out his welcome in Cleveburg.

  2. Much Needed Reality Check says:

    “…and Browns fans facing yet another cold and grey winter.”

    A grey winter in Cleveland? Oh what are the odds!

  3. Midnight Writer says:

    Delusional Czech actually has one valid point — painting over the image of Dante Lavelli after his death — a very bad move. (I hope Dante doesn’t put another curse on Cleveland.) I don’t know who put the first curse on the Browns.

    But Czech shouldn’t be so smug. If Kurt Warner is on his game, it is going to be a very long, grey winter and spring in Piss-burgh. (Especially since the Pirates are the loosingest baseball team in the nation.)

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  1. […] hired Eric Mangini as head coach in 2009, he took plenty of heat from the media and fans when he removed a mural of Browns legends at the team’s training facility. How could he besmirch the franchise in such an egregious […]

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