When Eric Mangini launched his NFL career as a ball boy at the age of 23, it was in Cleveland. When Mangini landed his first NFL coaching job, it was for then-Browns coach Bill Belichick, and it was in Cleveland. When Mangini ventured to visit his brother-in-law, Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, it was in Cleveland. When the Jets traded for Brett Favre this summer, Mangini met him for the first time in Cleveland, where New York was about to play a preseason game. On Wednesday, Mangini was introduced as the new Browns head coach, in Cleveland.
Think about the irony of that. Had Favre not faded down the stretch and the Jets made the playoffs, Mangini likely would have been handed a contract extension instead of a pink slip. But the arrival of Favre later indirectly contributed to the departure of Mangini. So much of Mangini’s career is connected to the same place that, grouped together, it’s as odd as it is eerie.