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Mangini references Paul Brown - Wed, Nov 11 2009 at 1:23 am


Much ado is being made of the Eric Mangini interview conducted by CBSportsline’s Clark Judge, a wide-ranging discourse that includes mention of Tupac, Andre Rison and the original Browns’ coach, Norwalk-born genius Paul Brown.


In it, Mangini maintains he believes in winning with a philosophy consistent with Brown’s. To many fans, the remarks make sense only through inference, by guesstimating what must be meant via context.


Quite possibly, that to which Mangini alludes is similar to what is found in Jack Clary’s 1973 book Cleveland Browns, one of the Great Teams’ Great Years series.


On page 14, Clary details the February 8, 1945 signing of the then-36-year-old Brown. Identifying what is was the coach stood for, Clary quotes Brown:

“At Ohio State, I asked nothing of my players that I wouldn’t ask of my own sons and that’s the way I planned the Browns. I had every intention of carrying through with the same idealism we had at Ohio State. The difference was that the players would draw a salary for playing football, and we would also try to help them improve their economic standing by providing business opportunities. The two things I insisted upon were that I would be in charge of the football end of the business and that I would have an absolute free hand in selecting my players. I was determined that I wanted them to be high class, and I picked them on the basis of personality as well as ability. I had always lived by the rule that you don’t win with dogs and to me, it is a rule that never has changed.”


After then detailing Brown’s tremendous success at Massillon High (81-7-2) and then at OSU (18-8-1 with a national championship in ‘42), Clary continued: “There would be no happenstance selection of players; no taking ‘names’ only for name-value; no deliberate establishment of a one-star system. Nor would there be an over-abundance of professional players just because they were professional players. Brown had too much confidence in his own coaching prowess and a feeling that the first mold his players must fit was his own. From there the rest would take shape.”


Then, quoting Brown, Clary wrote: “There was no doubt that the team I selected would be the most amateur in pro football. I wanted players with a love for the game, not a group of fellows who were strictly professional football players. I didn’t want them to think only of the money. I wanted them to think of the game first, the money second.”


As an aside to those unfamiliar with the foundational pieces, the following players were signed, in order: (1.) QB Otto Graham, (2.) OT/PK Lou Groza, (3.) WR Dante Lavelli and (4.) WR Mac Speedie.


As for the allusions to Brown, fans of the team should be able to identify a number of Mangini-isms among Brown’s personal sentiments, not the least of which is a resounding streak of conviction, a distinctly admirable quality and one that must appear in any winner, achiever, leader and man of principle.

For his willingness to put it all out there for every reader to see, Mangini deserves credit, though one can rightly question why he waited this long to allow the public to know him in this way. Presumably, this is the Mangini shown to Browns’ owner Randy Lerner, as well as the Mangini other writers in this market might well have welcomed the opportunity to present to Cleveland audiences, had only the man agreed to such a profile. (I cannot say with honesty he was invited to do so, however.)


At any rate, readers of the Judge article can better appreciate Mangini’s references to Brown now that Clary’s contributions have been shared.

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