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News » Eyeglasses aren't the only thing Mangini needs

Eyeglasses aren't the only thing Mangini needs

Eyeglasses aren't the only thing Mangini needs
What kind of operation are they running in Berea? Do you have to go to Oaf School before the Browns hire you as an executive?

Eric Mangini, in the best-case scenario, comes off in the latest Browns flap as sort of an ambulatory Mr. Oblivion. We are asked to believe he was unaware of the presence of Shaun Rogers, who weighs 360 pounds, at various functions around Berea and Cleveland.

Is Mangini working on being colossally uncommunicative with his players, as well as the media? Fans don't care about the media. But how did someone so heedless of simple personal interaction so wow Randy Lerner that the reclusive owner felt no need to interview anyone else?

Did I mention that Rogers was the Browns' best player last season? That he had been rejuvenated after his career was in a downward spiral in Detroit? That he played his butt off for the Browns last season at nose tackle? It is a position Bob Golic, a veteran of the interior line wars, likened to "the fire hydrant at a dog show."

The Dawgs who were the furthest from matching Rogers' Pro Bowl-worthy efforts were the linebackers. The Browns need to chase Shaun Rogers off - although he is said to want out after Mangini's snubs - like they need former megaflop coach Butch Davis to draft more guys that he tried to recruit at The U.

Rogers might not have needed "stroking," which means "flattery" in sports circles. But he did need to know he was appreciated and respected by the new head coach. Even if Rogers, again, the best player on the team last season, did need a dollop of flattery, so what?

"We stroke all these guys," the executive of another team said last season. He was Danny Ferry, who is in charge, hands down, of the most successful franchise in Cleveland and clearly the city's best-run one.

Perhaps this is simply a form of shock therapy, in which Mangini gets the point across that last year is so over by not glad-handing the top playmaker of that season. Fine. The slight still needs to be rectified to square with the coach's stated goal of meeting with potential draft picks and running them exhaustively through pre-draft interviews so he can determine their character.

Outreach, however, might not have much value in Mangini's Berea. Silence is a tool to get players' attention, too. Rogers, in this scenario, would feed off his anger to produce a big season.

It all is part of the bad-cop persona Mangini brings, as a corrective to the much beloved and much ignored Romeo Crennel, his predecessor. And there's little doubt Rogers will stay. He is too good and too necessary. He has too much at stake in contract terms, and the Browns have too much at stake in performance considerations.

This flap amounts to a dour look at Belichick III. (Crennel was the second incarnation, although he barely counted, having somehow skipped the misanthropy.) Mangini has adopted the paranoia and suspiciousness of his mentor, although not yet his scouting expertise and scheme mastery.

Everyone doesn't have to be quick-quipping Sam Rutigliano. But, for the players, shouldn't it be a little more fun and human than this? Both sides need to find some common ground. Rogers should get a grip on his ego. Mangini should get a clue.

To reach Bill Livingston: blivingston@plaind.com, 216-999-4672

Previous columns online: cleveland.com/columns

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

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Syndric Steptoe Name: Syndric Steptoe
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