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Despite the Jets' meltdown, Lerner is enamored with Mangini's potential and believes he will bring discipline to the underachieving Browns, whose disastrous season was marked by injuries, ugly losses and a 1-7 home record. Lerner believes Mangini, who will be 38 on Jan. 19, learned from his mistakes in New York.
Jets running back Leon Washington said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he was pleased to see Mangini land another head coaching job.
"I am really happy for Coach Mangini," Washington said in the e-mail. "I learned so much from him while he had his tenure with the Jets. His hardworking, selfless and competitive approach really helped me. ... The Browns got themselves a really good coach."
Mangini has not hired any assistants and plans to meet with the coaches currently under contract with the Browns before making any changes. He has spoken with Crennel about staying with the team, but did not get into specifics about a possible role.
Mangini was one of four candidates interviewed by Lerner, but the only one with NFL head coaching experience -- a prerequisite for the Browns owner, who also spoke with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
Lerner, who did not appear at the press conference, fired Savage after a 31-0 loss at Pittsburgh in the season finale. He then interviewed Scott Pioli, New England's director of player personnel, and had hoped to pair him with Mangini in Cleveland. The two began their pro careers together with the Browns, but their relationship may have been strained when Mangini reported the Patriots to the NFL for videotaping New York's defensive signals during a game.
During his interview, Mangini mentioned Kokinis as his preference as GM. Kokinis is expected to interview with Lerner on Sunday. The Browns also intend to interview Philadelphia GM Tom Heckert.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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