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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 1:54 p.m., Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AP source: Browns, Ex-Jet coach Mangini agree to terms

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND The Cleveland Browns will hire Eric Mangini as their next head coach, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.

Mangini, fired last week by the New York Jets, will be introduced at a Thursday news conference at the team's headquarters in Berea, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Mangini's contract has not been finalized. Mangini reached an agreement with the club Wednesday, the person said.

Mangini is represented by agent Ron Shapiro, who is Mangini's father-in-law.

The 37-year-old Mangini began his NFL career as a ballboy with the Browns in 1994 under then-coach Bill Belichick.

Mangini went 23-25 and made the playoffs once in three seasons with the Jets, who stumbled down the stretch to lose four of their last five and miss the playoffs after an 8-3 start.

The Browns fired Romeo Crennel after the team went 4-12 this season.

Mangini was one of four candidates interviewed by Browns owner Randy Lerner, but the only one with NFL head coaching experience a prerequisite for Lerner, who also spoke with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

Mangini was fired by the Jets one day after the club finished a disastrous stretch where they lost to Denver, San Francisco and Seattle three non-playoff teams in the final month behind 39-year-old quarterback Brett Favre's failing arm and questionable play calling by Mangini.

Lerner fired Crennel the same morning Mangini was let go but he was unaware Mangini, who will be 38 on Jan. 19, was available when he met with reporters. Lerner, who has also been interviewing general manager candidates, wasted no time in going after Mangini and interviewed him the following night in the New York area.

Lerner was enamored with Mangini's potential and believed he would bring discipline to the underachieving Browns. During his interview, Mangini identified Baltimore player personnel director George Kokinis as his preference as GM.

Kokinis is expected to interview with Lerner on Sunday.

After Mangini inherited a 4-12 team and led the Jets to 10 wins in his first season, New York's tabloids dubbed him "Mangenius." But by the end of his tenure in the NFL's largest market, he was being called moody, dour and controlling and he took the fall for the team's stunning collapse.

The Jets spent more than $140 million in offseason additions and traded for Favre, a move Mangini didn't favor but was forced to accept.