After just six weeks, new Cleveland Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini is acting like a meanie, mini-Bill Belichick â€“ or to be more accurate, like the young and inexperienced Belichick of 15 years ago when as the new sheriff, he arrived in town massaging a massive ego, but lacking the cajones to back it up.
As explained on MSF earlier today, Browns defensive nose tackle Shaun Rogers is so â€œdisenchantedâ€ with Mangini, that he would rather give up a $6 million option-bonus payment from the Browns due him next month, and be released â€“ despite still being owed another $15 million in guaranteed money. This, according to Adam Schecter of NFL.com.
It seems Mangini failed to acknowledge Rogers at the Browns training facility in Berea, and at a sports banquet in Cleveland, honoring Northeast Ohioâ€™s high school and other athletes.
Neither spoke to one another, according to several sources. In fact, the Browns Big Man and Mangini ignored each other while both sat in the small Green Room while waiting to be presented on stage. Both men have huge egos and neither would blink first â€“ or make eye contact.
When asked about it afterward, Mangini told reporters, â€œGee, I didnâ€™t even know (Rogers) was there.â€ Lame, Eric; very lame. Rogers is about 6â€™7, goes well over 300 lbs. — the proverbial elephant in the living room.
Mangini, as essentially Rogersâ€™ boss, should have been the bigger man and offered his hand. Why didnâ€™t he? Only Mangini, who seems to have acted in similar fashion with the New York Jets, can answer that. But if this major slight toward the Browns best defensive player is an instance of proving Mangini is the man in charge, it will backfire as surely as Belichickâ€™s first stint as an NFL head coach with the Browns.
Cleveland is not New York or Boston. Cleveland sports fans tend to have small town values and want their coaches and players to be hard-working but friendly, professional but polite.
Mangini comes off as arrogant as his mentor turned nemesis Belichick.
From day one in Cleveland, Belichick managed to piss off the Browns players with his motivational words of wisdom: â€œDonâ€™t f**k this up for me.â€ He turned off the media by being secretive about the most mundane moves, and when pushed, issued curt one-liners with zero information.
Belichick caused a firestorm among Cleveland fans when he released the most popular Browns football player since Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown: Quarterback Bernie Kosar.
Belichickâ€™s reason? â€œDiminishing skills,â€ he said. But the way the Kosar firing was handled showed complete disrespect for a man who is still beloved and admired by Browns fans today.
To this day, Kosar refuses to confirm the rumor that he punched Belichick during a skirmish in the Browns tunnel one Sunday â€“ and Belichick ainâ€™t talking.
Belichick got a taste of his own medicine when former Browns owner Art (the most hated man in Cleveland) Modell moved the team to Baltimore in 1994 and told his head coach not to bother packing for the trip.
Mangini, a disciple from the Belichick tree, was hired by Browns owner Randy Lerner to instill discipline in a Browns team known for being coddled by former Head Coach Romeo Crennel who referred to his players as â€œkids.â€
Determined to change the Browns training culture from the no hitting allowed, running around barefoot, boy scout camp of last year into one with disciplined, hard-hitting, fighting machines, Mangini played the Iâ€™m in charge card from the start, and pissed off the Browns best defensive player.
The Browns organization issued a press release, stating that Rogers never asked the team for his release.
Nor do the Browns plan to let Rogers go since the organization would have to not only lose a thorn in the side of opposing quarterbacks, but have to count more than $9.7 million earmarked for Rogers against the salary cap.
Money talks and apparently trumps egos since, according to the Browns, Mangini is optimistic that he can change Rogersâ€™ mind once the two men speak. Mangini is said to have recently reached out to Rogers.
Stay tuned to â€œAs Brownstown Turnsâ€ to discover whether Rogers accepts Manginiâ€™s olive branch and plays hard again this year.
With Randy Lerner in absentia, following his Astin-Villa futbol (soccer) clubâ€™s progress in England, and good olâ€™boys Mangini and his buddy George Kokinis in charge of signing and drafting new players, 2009 appears to be another season of the lunatics â€“ albeit a different kind â€“ running the asylum.