“The experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been
tremendous,” Mangini said in a statement released by the team. “I feel
strongly that the Cleveland Browns are headed in a very positive direction and
greatly value the commitment and exceptional efforts of the coaches, players
and everyone in the building that I’ve worked with in trying to help achieve
Mangini was hired before the 2009 season, but his job security came into
question later that year when general manager George Kokinis was fired and
Mike Holmgren was brought in to run the football operations.
The Browns were just 1-7 when Kokinis was dumped in November 2009, leaving
Mangini’s status in doubt. When Holmgren took over in December, speculation
grew that he would bring in his own coach or return to the sideline himself.
The Browns, though, won their final four games in 2009 and Holmgren gave
Mangini another chance.
This year’s squad opened with three losses and was 1-4 before rookie Colt
McCoy was given an opportunity at quarterback. The Browns then won four of
their next seven games, including victories over New Orleans and New England,
but unlike last year, they sputtered down the stretch with four straight
losses to end the season.
“This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great
deal of thought,” said Holmgren in a statement. “Although we have made
improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a
program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That
will continue to be our goal in everything we do. I want to thank Eric for all
of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the
best of luck in the future.”
Before taking over in Cleveland, Mangini spent three years as head coach of
the New York Jets and guided the club to a record of 23-25 with one playoff
appearance. He was dubbed the “Manginious” after leading the Jets to a mark of
10-6 with a wild card berth in his first year of 2006, but the club stumbled
to 4-12 the following year and was off to an 8-3 start with Brett Favre as
quarterback in 2008 before a 1-4 finish left New York out of the playoffs and
Mangini out of a job.
The Browns have not made the playoffs since the 2002 campaign and have had
just two winning seasons since returning to the NFL in 1999 after a three-year
absence following the original franchise’s move to Baltimore.